The man who doctored an image relating to the City Harvest Church trials has apologised profusely after Law Minister K Shanmugam revealed in Parliament on Monday that the the Attorney-General’s Chambers is looking into the matter as a case of contempt by scandalising the courts.
The doctored image in question had to do with ruling party parliamentarian Edwin Tong, who also served as City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee’s defense lawyer. The man who created and circulated the image took a copy of Chinese daily Lianhe Wanbao’s front page that was originally entitled “Outdated law ‘saved’ the accused from harsher penalties” and changed it to “PAP lawyer ‘saved’ the accused from harsher penalties”.
The man who was responsible for altering the image publicly apologised for his act shortly after the Minister flagged the matter in Parliament. The man, known as Neo Aikchau, begged for forgiveness on Facebook:
“I was wrong! I am sorry! I didn’t mean it! Everything is fair and fair! It’s really wrong! I don’t think so much! I’m sorry! I swear not to post anything about this! Forgive me!”
Shanmugam, who also serves as Home Affairs Minister, condemned Neo’s act on Monday:
“AGC takes the view that the suggestion from the fake title is that the PAP MP was responsible for an unfair, unjust outcome and the Courts have let off the defendants lightly because of him.
“The matter is with AGC and will be dealt with in accordance with the law.”
“This sort of attack based on deliberate faking is quite unacceptable. I cannot see how any reasonable person will justify such faking as a legitimate expression of free speech.”
Adding that lawyers “should not be made to feel that they will be hounded online, if they take up cases”, the Minister revealed:
“I’ve asked the police to take a serious view of those who scandalise court – not only for this case, if there are other comments which cross the threshold and are in contempt of court, our approach is that action will be taken.”