AGC’s bid to act against blogger turned back

The Court of Appeal turned back an application for permission to start contempt of court proceedings against sociopolitical blogger Alex Au for his Oct 12, 2013 article, because of a technicality.

But it also told the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) it could try again.

"The order we make today is that there is no proper application before us," said Justice Chao Hick Tin, who was speaking on behalf of a three-judge court that also comprised his fellow Judges of Appeal Andrew Phang and V.K. Rajah.

Justice Rajah also made it clear that the case could still be pursued using the correct procedure.

Last November, the AGC applied to the High Court for leave to proceed against Mr Au for two articles published on his blog, Yawning Bread, the month before.

Justice Belinda Ang gave the green light only for the earlier post, made on Oct 5, which allegedly accused the Supreme Court of intentionally manipulating hearing dates.

This post has since been taken down, and a pre-trial conference was fixed on Dec 18 last year for next Wednesday.

But Justice Ang said "no" to action against the post dated Oct 12, which allegedly accused the judiciary of being incapable of making independent judgments. This remains online and could still be accessed yesterday evening.

The AGC had applied to the apex court to pursue its case on the Oct 12 article.

The Straits Times understands that the technicality related to whether the matter was brought to the court as an appeal or as a fresh application.

After yesterday's hearing, for which Mr Au was present in court, an AGC spokesman said it would study the matter further and make the necessary application in due course.

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