Test 2

Please select your preferred language.

請選擇你慣用的語言。

请选择你惯用的语言。

English
中文简体
台灣繁體
香港繁體

Login

Remember Me

New to Fridae?

Fridae Mobile

Advertisement

More About Us

Advertisement

News & Features

« Newer | Older »
10 Oct 2013

Singapore Court agrees to hear both s377A appeal cases together

The Court of Appeal has accepted Tan Eng Hong's application to have his and another parallel case filed by Gary Lim and Kenneth Chee, both of which challenge the constitutionality of Singapore's anti-gay sex law, to be heard together.

The Court of Appeal today has allowed two challenges filed by two sets of plaintiffs to be heard together.

The Court of Appeal is the nation's highest court and its court of final appeal.

The application to consolidate the two cases was filed by M Ravi, lawyer for Tan Eng Hong who first filed his constitutional challenge to section 377A on 24 September 2010 after he was arrested, charged and detained under the same law for performing oral sex on another man in a shopping center toilet.

Tan’s challenge was dismissed earlier this month by Justice Quentin Loh while gay couple Gary Lim and Kenneth Chee's challenge was dismissed by the same judge in April this year. Both parties are appealing the rulings. Lim and Chee's Court of Appeal hearing which is was originally scheduled on Monday, October 14, will be postponed.

Lim and Chee first filed their challenge in November 2012 following the Court of Appeal ruling by Judges of Appeal Andrew Phang, V K Rajah and Judith Prakesh who said that the current law extends to private consensual sexual conduct between adult males, it "affects the lives of a not insignificant portion of our community in a very real and intimate way."

The judgment also noted the difference between "no proactive enforcement" and "no enforcement" as the government declared in October 2007 that Section 377A will not be "proactively enforced". It further declared the constitutionality or otherwise of s 377A to be of real public interest and that the "continued existence of s 377A in our statute books causes them (gay men) to be unapprehended felons in the privacy of their homes.

The Court of Appeal, which comprised Judges of Appeal Andrew Phang and VK Rajah, and Justice Woo Bih Li, ruled today that the issues in the two cases are essentially the same and should be heard together.

M Ravi told the court that such a move would prevent the same questions of law and constitutional issues from being tried on separate occasions with potentially different results.

According to a statement from M Ravi, the Court of Appeal today made observations that if they should decide that Lim and Chee have no standing, given the fact that they were neither charged nor prosecuted under section 377A, unlike Tan, their appeal could be dismissed on that ground alone, without having to consider the main arguments of their case.

M Ravi, who has acted as Tan’s pro bono counsel in this matter for more than three years, said in a statement: “This gives greater hope for the s377A challenge to succeed because Tan was given standing by the Court of Appeal in 2012 when he won the previous appeal. This further reinforces Mr Tan’s critical role in the challenge to overturn this anachronistic legislation which is a sad remnant of colonial law.”

“Mr Tan has made immense sacrifices from all fronts to pursue justice and has been resolute in his belief that justice will be done and his fundamental rights will be protected under the constitution. He believes the Court will recognise his immutable personal sexual orientation and recognise his right to live with dignity in this society,” he added.

Lim and Chee, who had opposed this application to have the cases consolidated as well as Tan’s earlier application (which was later withdrawn) to intervene in their case, told Fridae that they hope for both legal teams to co-operate for the best outcome.

“We believe that both our case and Tan Eng Hong's share the same important cause and are working for the same objectives. We welcome the joining of his hearing with ours before the Court of Appeal and we expect that our legal teams will be in communication to ensure that both sets of arguments, while different, will complement one another in order to jointly put forward the strongest possible case to declare s377A unconstitutional,” Lim and Chee said through their spokesperson.

The hearing for both appeals is expected to be held early next year.

Singapore

Reader's Comments

1. 2013-10-10 20:20  
should make guideline what is public place/area
Having sex manytimes in shopping centre can be inconstitutional or not
but there must be notice too.

I had sucked cock in public area once but then I realized, did I respect law? then i never done anymore
Mean gay should aware, and learned manytimes what public place for?

If One Religious Priest shouting for pray, heard by many people.
this must be noticed too, that the air is public area and should not be noise/loud except only once or by accident/ no regularity that still be accept

Gay should be aware to be sample for public
showing affection/ love to others without dismiss special acts.

this is equal justice



2. 2013-10-10 20:24  
It seems comical that the team behind Gary and Kenneth's appeal would now make the following statement when they had originally rejected Tan Eng Hong's application to intervene in their case so that both cases could be heard together:

“We believe that both our case and Tan Eng Hong's share the same important cause and are working for the same objectives. We welcome the joining of his hearing with ours before the Court of Appeal and we expect that our legal teams will be in communication to ensure that both sets of arguments, while different, will complement one another in order to jointly put forward the strongest possible case to declare s377A unconstitutional,” Lim and Chee said through their spokesperson.

So, from an original position of rejecting Tan Eng Hong, the team behind Gary and Kenneth's appeal are now back-tracking and calling for both teams to co-operate? What sort of political game is Pink Dot playing here? Why didn't Pink Dot, who everyone knows is the puppet master in the Gary and Kenneth appeal, offer to join forces with Tan Eng Hong's counsel at the very beginning? I, personally, can't see any real sincerity from the political statements of the Pink Dot camp.

It's sad that Pink Dot didn't call for co-operation and a concerted fight at the very beginning. Instead, all Pink Dot has done is created a rift within the LGBT community between the well-connected and celebrity-studded Pink Dot camp and the rest of us ordinary LGBT plebians.

If I were Tan Eng Hong, I'd tell Pink Dot exactly where to go.
Comment #3 was deleted by its author on 2013-10-10 21:38
Comment #4 was deleted by its author on 2013-10-10 21:38
Comment #5 was deleted by its author on 2013-10-10 21:38
Comment #6 was deleted by its author on 2013-10-10 21:24
Comment #7 was deleted by its author on 2013-10-10 21:24
Comment #8 was deleted by its author on 2013-10-10 21:24
Comment #9 was deleted by its author on 2013-10-10 21:24
Comment #10 was deleted by its author on 2013-10-10 21:24
Comment #11 was deleted by its author on 2013-10-10 21:25
Comment #12 was deleted by its author on 2013-10-10 21:25
Comment #13 was deleted by its author on 2013-10-10 21:25
Comment #14 was deleted by its author on 2013-10-10 21:33
Comment #15 was deleted by its author on 2013-10-10 21:33
16. 2013-10-10 22:56  
@Bottom4used: You are under the mistaken impression that Tan Eng Hong's challenge aims to get Constitutional protection for gay men to have the right to toilet sex.
There is nothing further from the truth!
Tan was initially charged under 377A for oral sex in a public toilet. Using 377A is discriminatory because a straight couple caught doing the same thing can only be charged under Section 394a which carries a lighter penalty.
Only after human rights lawyer fought for Tan did the High Court amend Tan's charge to 394a and fine him $3000, the same as if a straight couple had been caught and punished.
Therefore, the toilet sex episode is over and done with and has no bearing on Tan's current constitutional challenge of Section 377A which discriminates against all MSMs in Singapore every time they have sex, even if consensual and in private.
Comment edited on 2013-10-11 02:11:05
17. 2013-10-11 10:09  
Couldn't agree more with groyn88. The Tan Eng Hong s377A challenge, if successful, will be a landmark in Singapore and will benefit ALL gay and bisexual men as it will decriminalize consensual sex between adult males. For a so-called "first world" nation, Singapore is still light-years behind other developed economies in the human rights arena and it's time Singapore catches up with the rest of the developed world.
18. 2013-10-11 11:05  
it takes conviction and strength to go against popularity if you know its the correct thing to do. if the govt tells me that they only respect the majority... then think again. remember the stop at two?? the law 'penalises' couples from having more than 2 kids. what govt puts that into action?! now its reversed! have more, give you benefits.
19. 2013-10-11 20:31    
The following statement is posted on behalf of Pink Dot in response to comment #2:

Pink Dot is a social movement aimed at supporting the Freedom to Love, and celebrating equality and diversity in Singapore. We would like to clarify that as an organization, Pink Dot Sg has no involvement in either of the 377A legal challenges as suggested by some earlier posts. However we believe that this is an important issue and we wish all parties the best in their endeavours.
20. 2013-10-11 22:34  
This is indeed good news! As a community, it's vital that we stand together to seek greater protection and equality! We are certainly moving in the right direction as a community - voicing and demanding equality as LGBTs in Singapore.
21. 2013-10-12 12:33  
This appeared in the Straits Times print edition yesterday:


https://fbcdn-sphotos-b-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/1397443_615509685153867_1093860113_o.jpg


Joint hearing for gay sex law challenges
Hearing appeals at one go more efficient as both cases raise similar issues: Court
By SELINA LUM
THE appeals of the two separate challenges against the law that criminalises sex between men will be heard at the same time by a panel of three judges.
This was decided after 49-year-old Tan Eng Hong asked for his case to be put together with that of gay couple, Mr Gary Lim, 44, and Mr Kenneth Chee, 37.
This is the OCRed text of the article:
The Court of Appeal yesterday granted Mr Tan’s application for a joint hearing, explaining that both appeals raise essentially the same issues of law.
This means that Mr Lim and Mr Chee’s appeal, originally scheduled to be heard this coming Monday, will be pushed back to a later date.
Both Mr Tan and the couple contend that Section 377A of the Penal Code is unconstitutional.
Mr Tan was the first to challenge the law in 2010, after he was caught having oral sex with another man in a public toilet and charged under Section 377A.
Mr Lim and Mr Chee later filed their own challenge. The couple’s case was heard by Justice Quentin Loh in February. A month later, the same judge heard Mr Tan’s case. In April, Justice Loh dismissed the couple’s challenge, ruling that Section 377A did not violate the Constitution. Earlier this month, he also dismissed Mr Tan’s case.
Yesterday, Mr Tan’s lawyer, Mr M. Ravi, argued that it was efficient for both cases to be heard together instead of the court hearing the same issues twice.
He added that if all the arguments were presented at the same time, the matter could be considered comprehensively and not in a piecemeal manner.
Separate hearings could also potentially result in different decisions on the same issues, he said.
Senior Counsel Aedit Abdullah, from the the Attorney-General’s Chambers, objected to the application, arguing that the two cases involved different arguments. But Justice V. K. Rajah said that the core issues were probably similar.
The gay couple’s lawyer, Senior Counsel Deborah Barker, also argued against the application saying her clients preferred not to delay the matter and wanted to limit legal costs.
But Justice Rajah said that Mr Tan could argue that his case was being delayed even longer, with Justice Andrew Phang pointing out that he had been given the green light to pursue his case before the couple filed their challenge.
selinal@sph.com.sg
Comment #22 was deleted by its author on 2013-10-12 12:59
23. 2013-10-12 13:01  
Comment #19 is a blatant lie. If you go to Gary and Kenneth's indiegogo appeal online you will find Pink Dot clearly backing their campaign. Sylvia Tan, you of all people should know. You sit on the Pink Dot committee as well as Gary and Kenneth's fundraising committee. If you want to tell a lie, please make sure that people don't have the facts. Then the lie might work.

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/fundraising-for-s377a-constitutional-challenge

At the bottom of the Gary & Kenneth indiegogo appeal is a list of people who sit on their fundraising committee. All are either supporters of Pink Dot or sit on the Pink Dot executive committee. Sylvia Tan is one of them. So, comment #19 is a blatant lie.
Comment edited on 2013-10-12 13:23:53
24. 2013-10-14 17:08    
Dear Heemale,

1. I am not directly involved in the s377A challenge by Gary nor Kenneth, just as I am not in the Article 12 group that you asked me to join recently.

2. I am one of the many people who supported the fundraising campaign by friends and supporters of Gary and Kenneth. The campaign listed is the Indiegogo campaign and not the overall campaign. Please read carefully to ensure you have the right info.

3. As editor of Fridae, I have the discretion to ensure that news published on the website is timely and relevant. I'd decided against publishing your group's (Article 12) recent press release as we had already covered the story a few weeks ago. Attacking me and the editorial integrity of Fridae would not change the way we continue to support the community through news reporting or in other ways.

Kind regards
Sylvia Tan
Editor, Fridae.asia
25. 2013-10-15 12:56  
Comment #24, the fact that Sylvia Tan and others on the Gary & Kenneth fundraising committee are also either on the Pink Dot executive committee or fervent supporters clearly shows that Pink Dot is the de facto puppet master behind the Gary and Kenneth s377A challenge. If Pink Dot were truly neutral or sincere about supporting all causes in the name of the freedom to love, then it would have supported Tan Eng Hong's s377A challenge from the very beginning instead of instigate and orchestrate a separate challenge in which the plaintiffs have, as the court has already noted, a rather dubious locus standi since they were never prosecuted under s377A. Res ipsa loquitur.

Trying to pull this stunt of using the Article 12 committee as a red herring is quite beneath you, don't you think?
26. 2013-10-15 21:26  
@25, I believe the Court of Appeal has already clearly ruled in the Tan case that one does not have to be prosecuted under 377A to have standing. Theirs is the opinion that matters.
Comment #27 was deleted by its author on 2013-10-15 21:27
28. 2013-10-15 22:48  
#26, read the Fridae report carefully please:

"... the Court of Appeal today made observations that if they should decide that Lim and Chee have no standing, given the fact that they were neither charged nor prosecuted under section 377A, unlike Tan, their appeal could be dismissed on that ground alone, without having to consider the main arguments of their case".

According to the above report, this was the observation made by the Court of Appeal on 10 Oct 2013.
29. 2013-10-16 10:10  
By the way, comment #26, the possibility "... that if they should decide that Lim and Chee have no standing, given the fact that they were neither charged nor prosecuted under section 377A..." means that those of us who had donated to the Gary and Kenneth appeal for funds on indiegogo now have to ask the question WHY? Why the duplication of a second s377A challenge when the Tan Eng Hong challenge was already in place? I, personally, donated to the Gary and Kenneth appeal for funds and I, therefore, would like to know why the Gary and Kenneth challenge was instigated by Pink Dot or their supporters when that support could have been consolidated and given to Tan Eng Hong? Till this day, I do not have a clue as to why Pink Dot or its supporters had instigated a second challenge when the Tan Eng Hong one was already in place. As a donor, I believe I have a right to know WHY.

Please log in to use this feature.

Select News Edition

Featured Profiles

Now ALL members can view unlimited profiles!

Languages

View this page in a different language:

Like Us on Facebook

Partners

 ILGA Asia - Fridae partner for LGBT rights in Asia IGLHRC - Fridae Partner for LGBT rights in Asia

Advertisement