Amos Yee 'can be sued for molest claim'
Lawyers say Amos Yee could be in trouble for making up molest claim; ex-bailor declines to say if he will sue
Amos Yee Pang Sang began an expletive-laden Facebook post yesterday afternoon by slamming the "mainstream media".
Then, in an apparent change of mind, the 16-year-old blogger invited the media to catch him at Pasir Panjang MRT Station around 3pm to 4pm where "I'll clear the air and answer everyone (sic) of your queries".
Then came the bombshell. He accused his ex-bailor of molesting him.
He wrote: "I'll even reveal that little tidbit of information on how my ex-bailor, Vincent Law, molested me."
Though the tone of Yee's post indicated that he could be just trolling the media, some could not resist reporting on it.
The reports included reactions from his ex-bailor, youth and family counsellor, Mr Vincent Law, 51, and his defence lawyer, Mr Alfred Dodwell, in a court case in which he was convicted on two charges on Tuesday. (See report, below.)
Some members of the media also went to Pasir Panjang MRT Station to try to catch Yee, who is out on bail, posted by his parents, while awaiting his sentence.
Channel NewsAsia reported yesterday: "As at 5pm, Yee was nowhere to be seen at Pasir Panjang MRT station."
The New Paper asked Mr Law late yesterday afternoon whether he took Yee's allegation seriously.
He did not answer the question, but his reply indicated that he did: "I flatly deny this very serious and false allegation that I molested him."
He declined to comment further when asked if he intended to take any action against Yee or if he regretted putting up $20,000 to bail him out on April 21.
Hours later, at around 9.40pm, Yee came clean in another Facebook post, admitting that he was just messing with the media and that Mr Law had not molested him.
But the retraction may not save Yee from getting into trouble, two lawyers told TNP.
Mr Louis Joseph from Regent Law said that even with the retraction, Mr Law can still sue Yee for defamation as "damage has been done".
He said the fact that Yee is 16 years old would not save him from potentially getting sued.
"Youth as young as 16 who are accused of criminal acts can be dealt with in the community court," Mr Joseph added.
"Amos' age will not prevent him from getting sued. But who then becomes liable? His parents. Due to his age, they are vicariously liable for his actions."
Explaining the meaning of "vicariously liable", he said: "For instance, somebody does something wrong. The person in charge of that person may be liable for it."
Another lawyer, Mr Rajan Supramaniam from Hilborne Law, shared Mr Joseph's view.
He said: "The allegation is very serious. It is already out in print and circulated. The damage has been done."
Former Nominated MP and Singapore Management University law professor Eugene Tan told TNP that Yee had made a very serious allegation despite his retraction.
Associate Professor Tan, who is also a media observer, added: "He knows he is of intense media interest and seems to enjoy baiting the media and the public."
When contacted last night about Yee's admission, Mr Law declined to comment.
Even in his retraction, Yee could not resist a cheap shot at the stranger who had kindly come forward to bail him out when his parents would not.
He wrote: "And Vincent Law didn't really molest me. Though he is immensely creepy. I'll save the specific details for another time."
DEFIANT: Amos Yee’s Facebook postings yesterday at 2.40pm (above) and 9.41pm (below).
AMOS YEE'S CASE
Amos Yee Pang Sang, 16, was convicted on two charges on Tuesday after a two-day trial.
They were for posting an obscene image on his blog, and for uploading content online that contained remarks against Christianity.
A third charge under the Protection from Harassment Act, accusing Yee of posting an insulting video clip online containing remarks about Mr Lee, was withdrawn.
He was given a discharge amounting to an acquittal.
The blogger is now out on $10,000 bail, put up by his parents. No condition is attached to the bail.
Judge Jasvender Kaur called for a pre-sentence probation report, which will be presented on June 2.
Yee could be sentenced on that day.
For uploading content online that contained remarks against Christianity, Yee could be jailed for up to three years and fined. For transmitting an obscene image electronically, he could be jailed for up to three months and fined.