Young blogger spared custodial sentence
Deputy Public Prosecutor Hay Hung Chun is quoted in this report as saying:
His actions show him to be a misguided young man who sought to gain attention for himself by deliberately posting obscene material to shock, and deliberately posting material he admits he knew would cause ill will among Christians.
His actions are far from being ‘noble’ or imbued with good intentions. It was a calculated course of conduct undertaken for the sake of publicity and without regard to the damaging effects on the community.
The prosecution has called for a probation report, saying the 16-year-old needed counselling and probation, and that:
It is clear that neither a sentence of a fine nor a term of imprisonment would be suitable in the circumstances.
Amos pleaded not guilty to charges of transmitting an image electronically showing obscene figures and attacking Christianity with the deliberate intention of wounding the religious feelings of Christians.
The blogger was charged in court on March 31, four days after uploading a video criticising the late founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew who died just over a week before.
A day after he posted the video, he uploaded an image illustrating two people having sex, on which he superimposed the faces Lee Kuan Yew and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
A third charge, stood down for now, relates to the Protection from Harassment Act. It accuses him of making an online video containing offensive remarks about Lee Kuan Yew. The prosecution will assess whether to bring this charge at a later date.
Judge Jasvender Kaur said standards of obscenity will change from time to time, and differ among countries. It was up to the courts to decide based on community standards.
In considering whether the image Yee uploaded was obscene, she took into account its its effect on teenagers who were the likely viewers of Yee’s blog, whether parents would approve of their teenage daughter or son viewing it, and if teachers would approve of their students viewing it.
She concluded that it would meet with:
The strongest possible disapproval and condemnation.
On the second charge of making remarks intending to hurt the feelings of Christians, she said Yee’s remarks were:
Clearly derogatory and offensive to Christians.
The teenager has been remanded in Changi Prison since April 30, as he did not want to comply with conditions attached to his $30,000 bail that prevent him from posting anything online.
At a bail review hearing last Wednesday, a day before his trial, Yee’s lawyer Mr Dodwell said these conditions amounted to a gag order and infringed on his client’s constitutional right to freedom of speech.
Update: A 49-year-old man who took offence at Amos’s video and slapped him as the teen was on his way to court has been jailed for three weeks.