Youth on trial 'demands change of judge'
When he took the witness stand last October to give his version of events, Pierre Chng Yuheng, 19, was on his best behaviour.
Yesterday, when he took the stand again to be cross-examined by the prosecution, he was like a different person.
When questioned, he crossed his arms, glared at the ceiling and refused to answer.
He even used his mobile phone while on the stand. He also branded the trial "biased and prejudiced", demanding that the judge presiding over his case be replaced.
The full-time national serviceman, who faces two charges of criminal intimidation, responded the same way to almost every question.
He said loudly: "This court proceeding is grossly biased and prejudiced. This is malicious prosecution. This is persecution.
"I have judicial rights. I demand a change of court, judge and DPP (Deputy Public Prosecutor)."
Chng, who is representing himself, repeated this more than 10 times yesterday.
His two counts of criminal intimidation were allegedly against his family's former landlady, Madam Khoo Kim Cheng.
She testified last August that she had rented out her house at Paya Lebar Crescent to Chng's mother, Ms Chng Leng Khim, and her three children from Feb 1, 2013 to Jan 31 last year.
She said the Chngs failed to pay their rent of $1,500 a month after March 2013, and this led to a tiff between her and them.
Chng is accused of verbally threatening to ruin Madam Khoo and her family members on May 2, 2013.
On May 22, he allegedly threatened the mother of four by pointing a tree branch at her.
A third charge of using criminal force on a public servant has been stood down.
His sister, Carmen Chng Jiawen, 18, also faces charges for offences including mischief and voluntarily causing hurt to a public servant.
Her case will be dealt with separately at a later date. (See report on facing page.)
At the start of proceedings yesterday, Chng applied for a retrial, telling District Judge Lim Keng Yeow that the case was "prejudiced and predetermined".
He also asked to recall two "malicious" prosecution witnesses - Madam Khoo and her husband Mr Poh Boon Kay - so that he could impeach them.
He said that if his application for a retrial was approved, he would also like to apply for a "trial within a trial" to "determine wrongful behaviour by the police" on the case against him.
Chng claimed the police action was carried out to "shield" the activities of an illegal dormitory purportedly found within Madam Khoo's Paya Lebar Crescent property.
DPP Vikneswaran Kumaran said Chng's claims were unfounded.
He added that Chng had had an earlier opportunity to cross-examine and impeach the witnesses.
"There was no reason for the second bite of the cherry," said DPP Vikneswaran.
Judge Lim did not grant Chng's application as he found no merit in it.
When Chng was called to the witness stand soon after this, he took out his mobile phone and fiddled with it.
Judge Lim told him to put his phone away and reminded him that no form of recording was permitted in the courtroom.
When Chng said he was inquiring about the status of his witnesses, the judge told him that he could do so after leaving the stand.
Chng then burst out: "I would like to disqualify the judge and the DPP from carrying on with the case. There is clearly tons of prejudice in this trial since day one."
Judge Lim warned him that his conduct could amount to contempt of court and "there would be implications for (him)".
Soon afterwards, Chng got a phone call while his mobile phone was on silent mode. He looked at his phone and told the court that it was a call from his superior, a warrant officer. He then asked if he could answer the call.
Before allowing him to take the call, Judge Lim chided him: "Court proceedings cannot be interrupted by calls like these... I will not allow further interruptions during these proceedings."
When the cross-examination began, Chng started making allegations of bias and prejudice against him.
Apart from repeatedly demanding a change of court, judge and DPP, he also said: "I refuse to answer the questions and I will answer in any manner that I like...
"I will not adhere until my demands are met...This court's integrity is at stake right now."
At one point, he even addressed the court reporters, saying: "Look at that, look at that, as they incriminate me... my friends from the media, this is Singapore's law."
He then asked Judge Lim for the case to be stood down for lunch because he was "hungry".
As it was noon and the prosecution said it needed about another 30 minutes more for its cross-examination, the judge agreed.
When the trial resumed at 2.30pm, Judge Lim sternly reminded Chng about his behaviour and said he would stop the teenager if he were to "say something irrelevant".
But Chng continued behaving the same way when the cross-examination resumed.
The judge frequently interrupted Chng whenever he gave a lengthy reply that was deemed "irrelevant".
Chng later said he would like to seek leave to file a motion and have the case heard in the High Court.
The judge saw no basis for this and denied the application.
Chng also said: "This is a sham proceeding... I refuse to answer... (I) doubt the competency of the DPP."
DPP Carene Poh said: "The vexatious allegations against all parties (the prosecution and the judiciary) in this case are wholly unwarranted and without merit".
The case has been adjourned to March 19 for both parties to prepare their submissions.
Intentional disruption has serious consequences. You can choose not to answer the questions. But if you choose to say something irrelevant, I will stop you because that will prolong the proceedings.
- District Judge Lim Keng Yeow’s reminder to Chng
WHAT CHNG DID IN COURT
- He labelled the court proceeding "grossly biased and prejudiced", and demanded "a change of court, judge and DPP (Deputy Public Prosecutor)".
- While on the stand, he fiddled with his mobile phone and even asked the judge whether he could answer his phone when a call came in.
- After the judge told him off over his use of the phone, he said: "I would like to disqualify the judge and the DPP from carrying on with the case."
- He asked to recall two "malicious" prosecution witnesses - his former landlady and her husband - so that he could impeach them.
- When cross-examined, he said: "I refuse to answer the questions and I will answer in any manner that I like... I will not adhere until my demands are met."
- He wanted a "trial within a trial" to "determine wrongful behaviour by the police" on the case against him.
- He wanted to seek leave to file a motion and have the case heard in the High Court.
Charges they face
PIERRE CHNG YUHENG
He faces two charges for criminal intimidation after allegedly threatening to ruin his former landlady, Madam Khoo Kim Cheng, her child, and her grandchildren at a Paya Lebar Crescent house on May 2, 2013.
The full-time national serviceman, 19, is also accused of threatening to injure Madam Khoo by pointing a 1m-long tree branch at her 20 days later.
Another charge of using criminal force on a public servant - when he allegedly swung his arms at Police Corporal Eric Tan Bing Xiang, causing his glasses to fall off, on June 6, 2013 - has been stood down.
CARMEN CHNG JIAWEN
The 18-year-old faces four charges - one count each for using abusive words on public servants, obstructing a policeman from carrying out his duties, voluntarily causing hurt to a police officer and mischief.
At around 3.15pm on June 6, 2013, she allegedly prevented Staff Sergeant Chris Tan Zhi Yong from putting Chng, her older brother, in handcuffs by pulling the policeman's lower arm.
About 1½ hours later, she allegedly used vulgar language on three other police officers - Cpl Tan, Sgt Sritharchana R. Jayaprakas and Assistant Superintendent Deng Qiyuan.
She is also accused of kicking Sgt Sritharchana on her knees and stomach at around 5pm that day, causing bruises on both knees and tenderness around the officer's right lower ribs.
At 5.15pm, she allegedly kicked the rear right passenger window of a police car, causing the internal cover of the door to crack. According to court papers, the damage amounted to $100.
Her case is still pending.