Activist Jolovan Wham found guilty of two charges
Activist Jolovan Wham was found guilty yesterday of organising a public assembly without a permit and refusing to sign his statement at the police station after the event.
The verdict marked the conclusion of his trial, which began in October, after Wham contested the two charges laid against him in November 2017.
District Judge Kessler Soh found that the prosecution, led by Deputy Public Prosecutors Kumaresan Gohulabalan and Nicholas Wuan, had proven beyond reasonable doubt that Wham, a social worker, was guilty of the two offences committed in late 2016.
Court documents showed that Wham organised an event entitled "Civil Disobedience and Social Movements" at indoor event space The Agora in Sin Ming Lane on Nov 26, 2016.
Despite being advised by a police officer to apply for a permit for the event, Wham did not. Investigations began after the event ended, and Wham recorded his statement at a police station on Dec 20.
After learning that he would not be given a copy, Wham refused to sign it.
Defence counsels Eugene Thuraisingam and Suang Wijaya argued that the requirement for a permit breached Wham's constitutional right to freedom of assembly and speech, and that the event did not qualify as an assembly.
They further argued that Wham was not legally compelled to sign the police statement as it was "self-incriminatory".
But the DPPs said there was no basis that requiring a permit would breach Wham's constitutional right. They argued that the investigating officer was legally competent to require Wham to sign the statement.
District Judge Soh agreed and said that Wham's refusal to sign the statement was unjustified.
Wham is out on bail and will be back in court this month for his mitigation and sentencing.