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Blogger Accused of Writing Articles that ‘Undermine’ Public Confidence in the Judiciary

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Two blog posts that were written by the blogger Alex Au were the subject of a court hearing held on October 21. The hearing was an attempt to determine whether two posts that appeared on Au’s “Yawning Bread” blog qualify for the charge of contempt of court. The attorney general is claiming that his posts run the risk of undermining the confidence that the public has in the Singapore judiciary and therefore, put him in contempt of court.

In defense of the government’s claims that Au leveled an unwarranted and illegal attack on the court, the lawyers for Au stated that the blogger’s only intention was to encourage public discourse on important political issues and that the attorney general’s case has no foundation in law.

The two posts that are in question appeared on the blog in October 2013. Both posts were related to issues regarding gay rights and how the court was handling high profile cases connected to these issues. One article was commentary on a case concerning a law that makes gay sex a criminal offense and the other was about a case regarding the legality of an employee being dismissed from their job on the grounds of sexual orientation.

The representative of the state, Tai Wei Shyong, cited several passages from the two blog posts that the attorney general believes represent an attack on the court and the credibility of the justice system. One such quote that the state used in their case has Au saying that his confidence in the judiciary is “as limp as a flag on a windless day.”

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To defend against the charges of contempt, Au’s defense is largely putting forth the idea that his words are being taken out of context, misconstrued or that the attorney general is exaggerating the overall meaning. His lawyers and many of Au’s supporters say that the court needs to exercise restraint when dealing with criticism.

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