Brompton bikes case: AGC asks court to clarify when jail warranted for lying offence

Former National Parks Board (NParks) assistant director Bernard Lim Yong Soon, who was fined the maximum $5,000 in June over the Brompton bikes case, leaving the State Courts on June 10, 2014. In the latest development in the case, the
Former National Parks Board (NParks) assistant director Bernard Lim Yong Soon, who was fined the maximum $5,000 in June over the Brompton bikes case, leaving the State Courts on June 10, 2014. In the latest development in the case, the prosecution has asked Singapore's apex court to clarify when a jail term is warranted for lying to a public servant. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - In the latest development in the Brompton bikes case, the prosecution has asked Singapore's apex court to clarify when a jail term is warranted for lying to a public servant.

It has filed what is known as a criminal reference with the Court of Appeal, under which only points of law, rather than factual issues, are to be decided.

"The Attorney-General (V.K. Rajah) is of the view that it is in the public interest to clarify certain issues of sentencing law," a spokesman for the Attorney-General's Chambers said in a statement on Monday.

This was in light of "important questions of law" that had arisen during an appeal in the case of former National Parks Board (NParks) officer Bernard Lim Yong Soon, the spokesman said.

Lim had been fined the maximum $5,000 in June by a district court, which found him guilty of giving false information to a public servant after a nine-day trial.

Most recently on Nov 21, the High Court dismissed both the prosecution's appeal that Lim should be jailed for three to four months, as well as Lim's appeal against conviction.

In late 2011, Lim had tipped off the boss of bicycle retailer Bikehop about an upcoming NParks tender for foldable bikes.

Bikehop entered a bid to sell 26 Brompton bikes to NParks in January 2012. It was the sole bidder and it won the tender.

In June 2012, the deal came under intense public scrutiny over the $2,200 price of each bicycle.

When questioned by Ministry of National Development auditors about his relationship with Bikehop director Lawrence Lim, Lim lied that they met for the first time only in March 2012, after the tender was awarded.

But the truth was that the two first met at a night cycling event in September 2011, before NParks invited bids for the bikes.

In May, Lim was convicted of lying to the auditors but acquitted of a second charge of instigating the Bikehop boss to lie.

The prosecution dropped its appeal against the acquittal.

In the criminal reference filed on Monday, it also wants the court to make clear whether the existence of mitigating factors can justify not imposing imprisonment, once a sentencing court has decided jail is warranted.