City Harvest trial: No case against church leaders, their lawyers argue

The trial against City Harvest founder Kong Hee (above) and five others accused of misusing church funds resumed today, with two defence lawyers claiming that the prosecution had not done enough to prove its case. -- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
The trial against City Harvest founder Kong Hee (above) and five others accused of misusing church funds resumed today, with two defence lawyers claiming that the prosecution had not done enough to prove its case. -- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

SINGAPORE - The trial against City Harvest founder Kong Hee and five others accused of misusing church funds resumed on Tuesday morning, with two defence lawyers claiming that the prosecution had not done enough to prove there was a case against their clients.

Mr Edwin Tong, representing Kong, said that the prosecution was asking the court to "draw inferences of conspiracy on facts which are completely innocuous".

For example, even though Kong was the founder of City Harvest and had started the Crossover Project - which used secular music created by his wife, singer Ho Yeow Sun, to evangelise - these were non-controversial facts known to church members, the lawyer said.

Mr Tong also pointed out - as the defence lawyers had done in an earlier part of the trial - that the church did not suffer any financial losses, and all of the City Harvest funds went into furthering the Crossover Project.

"No one stole. No one misappropriated it for their own use. No one has complained," he said.

Earlier in the day, Mr Kenneth Tan, the lawyer for John Lam Leng Hung, the former secretary of the church's management board, noted that it remained the defence's position that investments, which the prosecution believes to be shams, were in fact genuine investments.

Even if there was a conspiracy, there was "no direct evidence" that Lam was involved in it, he said.

"You have two full-time pastors, the administrator of the Crossover Project, the investment manager," Mr Tan said, referring to the other accused. "And (Lam) who is a volunteer who comes and goes... He does not have the knowledge of the general plot."