Chew's sentence begins tomorrow at earliest

Former City Harvest Church (CHC) fund manager Chew Eng Han's sentence of three years and four months' jail for his role in the misuse of millions in church funds will start, at the earliest, tomorrow.

This is provided no further remand for investigations into his alleged escape attempt from Singapore is ordered when the case is mentioned in court tomorrow.

However, if further remand for investigations is ordered, then his sentence for criminal breach of trust (CBT) will start, latest, at the end of his further remand, the Court of Appeal ordered yesterday.

Chew, 57, was originally scheduled to begin his sentence for CBT last Thursday but was nabbed at sea last Wednesday morning, allegedly trying to flee to Malaysia on a motorised boat. He was charged in court with leaving Singapore unlawfully last Thursday, and is being remanded at Central Police Division until the case is mentioned again tomorrow.

The issue of the commencement date of his jail term for CBT was brought before the Court of Appeal yesterday.

The prosecution argued that his sentence should start when his further remand has come to an end, without giving any fixed dates.

Chew's lawyer Jonathan Phipps, from Y S Chung Law Corporation, argued that Chew should be considered to have started serving his sentence since Feb 22 because he appeared in court that day to start his sentence.

But Judge of Appeal Andrew Phang noted that Chew was in court not out of his own volition but because of investigations into a separate offence.

After deliberation, the five judges ruled that Chew's sentence of three years and four months will start tomorrow.

But if further remand is ordered, his sentence will "commence immediately upon expiry of such further remand".