Amos Yee's long remand was lawful, says his lawyer

Singapore teenage blogger Amos Yee (center) is surrounded by members of the media after walking out from the state court in Singapore on July 6, 2015.
Singapore teenage blogger Amos Yee (center) is surrounded by members of the media after walking out from the state court in Singapore on July 6, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

The lawyer who represented controversial blogger Amos Yee said yesterday that the 16-year-old's lengthy stay in remand was in accordance with the law.

Mr Alfred Dodwell was speaking at a discussion on the Singapore Constitution and due process, which was organised by Singapore Management University's Constitutional Law and Criminal Justice Club as part of its annual Criminal Justice Conference. He was asked by a participant whether a person charged with a non-violent crime, and who was unlikely to abscond, should be kept in remand.

Amos spent about 50 days in remand before being sentenced to four weeks' jail. He was released the day he was sentenced after the punishment was backdated to include his time in remand.

Before that, he was bailed out twice, at $20,000 each time, but breached his bail conditions. When he was bailed out again at $10,000, he missed an interview with a probation officer.

Mr Dodwell said: "No one was interested in seeing Amos in remand and that is the truth... What transpired was, whether we agree with the bail conditions or not, they stand and, unless you challenge them and set them aside, which we tried, they remain the conditions he has to abide by and he breached them. Because of that, nobody came forward (to be his bailor) so he had to spend time in remand."

He added that after he and other lawyers started representing Mr Yee, "the prosecution, prison authorities and police were very cooperative to fast-track us to be able to see Amos.

"(Later) we asked the court to bend over backwards, essentially to give us an expedited trial, and they all assisted us... What transpired was due process at work."

The discussion, as well as another on punishment and sentencing, had topics such as the rights of the accused, including the right to counsel within a reasonable time.

Feng Zengkun

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 16, 2015, with the headline 'Amos Yee's long remand was lawful, says his lawyer'. Print Edition | Subscribe