Latest update (Oct 10, 2013): The Court of Appeal has accepted Tan Eng Hong's application to have his, and Gary Lim and Kenneth Chee's cases consolidated. More details to come.
The Court of Appeal will convene on an urgent basis on Thursday to allow Tan Eng Hong's appeal to be jointly heard together with Gary Lim and Kenneth Chee's case, both of which challenge the constitutionality of Singapore's anti-gay sex law.
Tan Eng Hong, who first filed his constitutional challenge to section 377A on 24 September 2010, has made an application to the Court of Appeal to convene on an urgent basis tomorrow to allow his appeal to be jointly heard together with a parallel case filed by a gay couple, Gary Lim and Kenneth Chee. Both cases challenge the constitutionality of section 377A of the Singapore Penal Code which criminalises sex between men.
The application is to be heard on Thursday, 10 October 2013 at 11.30 am in the Court of Appeal, according to a statement sent to Fridae by Tan's lawyer, M Ravi, on Wednesday evening.
Earlier this month, Singapore High court Justice Quentin Loh upheld the law in in Tan's appeal case. In a 54-page judgment, Justice Loh has "found that the statute has not infringed the rights of the plaintiff, Tan Eng Hong, and is not inconsistent with Articles 9 and 12 of the Constitution of Singapore, which ensures that one will not be deprived of his life or personal liberty save in accordance with law and that all persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law, respectively."
When asked, M Ravi clarified that the application to have the two cases consolidated by the court is separate from the application he filed in August for Tan to be recognised as an interested party in Lim and Chee's upcoming Court of Appeal hearing which is scheduled on Monday, October 14. The application was later withdrawn after Lim and Chee opposed the move.
Tan is seeking to have his appeal against Judge Loh's ruling be heard on Monday alongside Lim and Chee's appeal or have both appeals heard on a later date, R Ravi told Fridae.
Lim and Chee filed their appeal in April this year after Judge Loh dismissed their legal challenge on April 10, 2013.
M Ravi explained that his client's application to have the two cases consolidated are "essentially for the beneficial effect of preventing a multiplicity of actions and preventing the same questions of law and constitutional issues from being tried on separate occasions with potentially different results."
The application to consolidate the appeals is also "borne out of concern for Tan Eng Hong's right to a fair hearing and due process as he has been challenging the constitutionality of section 377A of the Penal Code since 2010."
Tan's application further highlighted that unlike Lim and Chee, Tan was arrested, charged and detained under section 377A for performing oral sex on another man in a shopping center toilet.
M Ravi added that should judgment be issued in Lim and Chee's case before the his client's appeal is heard, his client "may be deprived of or have abbreviated his opportunity to vindicate his rights through access to the entire appellate process."