SINGAPORE - The former chairman of the Reform Party, Charles Yeo, was on Wednesday (Jan 19) charged with wounding the religious feelings of the Christian community with remarks he allegedly made on his Instagram and Facebook pages.
He was also charged with posting a series of Instagram stories that contained abusive remarks about a specific police officer.
Yeo was handed six charges in total for purported acts carried out between November 2020 and February last year.
The lawyer's post on his Instagram page @toxicstatenarrativeinsg in November 2020 was allegedly made to wound the religious feelings of "Christians who view homosexuality as contrary to their religious beliefs".
Another two charges were for attempting to commit the same offence on Feb 23 and Feb 26 last year.
In these posts, he is said to have referred to Christians as “radical and dogmatic”, and allegedly remarked that certain Christian churches were “homophobes with their trash agenda” and that they “distort the message of Christ”.
He purportedly also made "an abusive communication" towards a public servant - Deputy Superintendent of Police Jonathan Auyong - on Jan 11 last year.
Two other charges in relation to the officer involved threatening communication and insulting communication.
These posts called the officer, among other things, a “fake public servant elevated by money pumped in by tuition” and “nothing but a pathetic coward and collaborator with an authoritarian regime”.
The court heard that Yeo will be disputing charges related to wounding religious feelings. He will return to court for a pre-trial conference on Feb 25.
Yeo is also currently being investigated for his alleged role in a case of criminal breach of trust and forgery, a probe the 31-year-old had claimed was politically motivated.
Police rejected the claim in a statement last Saturday.
The Reform Party, in a Facebook post on Sunday, said it had accepted Yeo’s offer to step down as chairman until the matters are resolved. Ms Yasmine Valentina, a member of the party’s central executive committee, was appointed acting chair.
If convicted of making abusive remarks towards a public servant, Yeo could be fined up to $5,000 and jailed for up to a year.
Uttering words with the deliberate intent to hurt the religious feelings of another carries a maximum penalty of three years' jail and a fine.