Police 'have the right to hold notebook'

Police 'have the right to hold notebook'
Blogger; Han Hui Hui, 22.

Police yesterday returned to blogger Han Hui Hui her notebook and said they were acting within their powers in retaining it as part of an investigation.

The notebook was taken from Ms Han, 22, last Friday when she was questioned over a Sept 27 protest in Hong Lim Park that disrupted a YMCA charity carnival.

Both events were held at the same venue but in different areas of the park.

Responding to a query from The Straits Times, a police spokesman said that under Section 35(1)(c) of the Criminal Procedure Code, the police had a right to seize any item "suspected to constitute evidence of an offence".

But the notebook was given back to Ms Han, as the police no longer needed it for investigations, the spokesman added.

Earlier, Ms Han's lawyer, Mr M. Ravi, had said in a statement e-mailed to the media that the police had overstepped their powers. He had sent a letter of demand to the police on Tuesday, saying the notebook was private property and should not have been seized.

It contains notes Ms Han took when she was being questioned by the police, which Mr Ravi said were considered "privileged legal communication".

But this was refuted by the police in a letter to Mr Ravi, who released it to the media.

The police wrote: "Your client's notebook is not a document covered by legal professional privilege. Notwithstanding this, the police (are) of the view that it will not be necessary to retain the notebook any further for investigation."

Ms Han, and several others, have been questioned over their involvement in the fracas at Hong Lim Park.

She was the organiser of the protest, and had led a few hundred people in a march around the park, encroaching on the lawn where the charity carnival was held and frightening some children with special needs who were performing on stage.

It is understood that the police tried to contact the protest's co-leader, Mr Roy Ngerng, last week but he was not in Singapore.

On Wednesday this week, he said in a Facebook post that he was in Malaysia attending a conference.

This article was first published on October 17, 2014, 2014.
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