City Harvest case

City Harvest case: 6 ex-church leaders due back in court today

(Clockwise from top left) CHC founder Kong Hee, Tan Ye Peng, Serina Wee, John Lam, Sharon Tan and Chew Eng Han.
(Clockwise from top left) CHC founder Kong Hee, Tan Ye Peng, Serina Wee, John Lam, Sharon Tan and Chew Eng Han. PHOTOS: ST FILE
Chew Eng Han, who is out on bail, was given three years and four months' jail. Serina Wee was given a 21/2-year prison sentence. John Lam is now serving a 11/2-year jail term. Tan Ye Peng is serving a jail sentence of three years and two months.
CHC founder Kong Hee (left) is currently serving 3½ years in jail. ST FILE PHOTO
Chew Eng Han, who is out on bail, was given three years and four months' jail. Serina Wee was given a 21/2-year prison sentence. John Lam is now serving a 11/2-year jail term. Tan Ye Peng is serving a jail sentence of three years and two months.
Tan Ye Peng is serving a jail sentence of three years and two months.
CHC founder Kong Hee (left) is currently serving 31/2 years in jail.
Serina Wee was given a 2½-year prison sentence.ST FILE PHOTO
Chew Eng Han, who is out on bail, was given three years and four months' jail. Serina Wee was given a 21/2-year prison sentence. John Lam is now serving a 11/2-year jail term. Tan Ye Peng is serving a jail sentence of three years and two months.
John Lam is now serving a 1½-year jail term.
Sharon Tan received the shortest prison sentence of seven months.
Sharon Tan received the shortest prison sentence of seven months.
Chew Eng Han, who is out on bail, was given three years and four months' jail. Serina Wee was given a 21/2-year prison sentence. John Lam is now serving a 11/2-year jail term. Tan Ye Peng is serving a jail sentence of three years and two months.
Chew Eng Han, who is out on bail, was given three years and four months’ jail

Prosecution seeks ruling on questions of law and to reinstate original convictions

City Harvest Church (CHC) founder Kong Hee and five other former church leaders are due to appear in court today for a five-judge Court of Appeal to hear the criminal reference of the case.

It will be the first time in three months Kong and four others will be seen publicly, after they began serving their jail terms on April 21.

The criminal reference is fixed for hearing at 10am before Judges of Appeal Andrew Phang and Judith Prakash, and Justices Belinda Ang, Quentin Loh and Chua Lee Ming.

Deputy Attorney-General Hri Kumar Nair will be presenting the prosecution's case.

On April 7, the six former CHC leaders had their jail terms slashed for criminal breach of trust (CBT), following a split decision by the High Court.

They were cleared of the more serious form of CBT as agents, under Section 409 of the Penal Code, and instead found guilty of simple CBT under Section 406.

Their initial jail terms of between 21 months and eight years were reduced to between seven months and 3½ years.

The prosecution filed a criminal reference on April 10 to seek a definitive ruling on questions of law of public interest as well as to ask the apex court to reinstate the original convictions. In particular, it is asking whether a director or member of an organisation's governing body entrusted with property, or dominion over property, constitutes an "agent".

Inmates are typically brought in batches from the prison directly to the dock in court for hearings.

Former fund manager Chew Eng Han, who is representing himself, was allowed to suspend his sentence to apply for permission to file his own criminal reference. He is currently out on bail.

Last month, the court rejected the 56-year-old's application, saying that the questions he had raised did not meet the required threshold.

The public prosecutor is allowed to refer any question of law of public interest without permission of the court.

A criminal reference is a rare legal procedure that has been filed only 21 times from 2007 to last year.

Besides answering the questions of law referred, the judges will have the power to quash the High Court's conviction, make no orders to the acquittal or conviction, or order a retrial by the lower court.

The decision of the Court of Appeal in a criminal reference is final.

In response to queries, a CHC spokesman said that the "church has been praying for Pastor Kong and the others in the months, weeks and days leading up to (today)" and that they will continue to do so.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 01, 2017, with the headline '6 ex-church leaders due back in court today'. Print Edition | Subscribe