Court to hear request for vandal suspect to see lawyer

Today, the State Court is due to hear an application for one of the five teens accused of vandalising a Toa Payoh HDB block to be allowed access to his lawyer.

Defence counsel Choo Zheng Xi made the application when he could not get permission from police to speak to his client last week. It is understood that he offered to meet the teen in the presence of the police, so as to not affect investigations. But this was also denied.

The suspect is one of five Singaporeans, all aged 17, who were charged on Saturday with spray-painting graffiti on top of a 22-storey HDB block in Lorong 4 Toa Payoh.

The expletives, painted in red, were directed at the ruling People’s Action Party and the police.

The five – Boaz Koh Wen Jie, Chay Nam Shen, David William Graaskov, Goh Rong Liang and Reagan Tan Chang Zhi – are in remand at Tanglin Police Division.

They are being probed in connection with other similar cases, the court had heard earlier.

Mr Choo, who declined to name his client, is also seeking a court gag order on his client’s identity, given that he is a minor.

His application comes in the wake of a High Court decision earlier this year which ruled that the onus is on the police to explain why they are not ready to allow defence lawyers access to accused people remanded for ongoing investigations.

Last week, the apex court ruled, when the case came on appeal, that a 1994 precedent had made clear an accused person has to be allowed access to counsel within a reasonable time.

This article by The Straits Times was published in MyPaper, a free, bilingual newspaper published by Singapore Press Holdings.

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