Time is GMT + 8 hours
Posted: 16 March 2006 1753 hrs
By S Ramesh, Channel NewsAsia
SINGAPORE : Singapore Democratic Party leader Chee Soon Juan has been found guilty of contempt of court.
The ruling was made by Justice Lai Siu Chiu at the end of the hearing on Thursday.
She has deferred sentencing till Friday to give both Dr Chee and his lawyer another chance to reply to points raised by the Attorney General.
Both of them failed to do so today.
The Attorney General had taken action against Dr Chee after he made a statement about the independence of the Singapore judiciary on February 10 during a hearing on his bankruptcy before an assistant registrar.
Arguing the case for the Attorney General was Second Solicitor General Lee Seiu Kin.
He told the court Dr Chee had scandalised the entire Singapore judiciary by alleging that it was biased and unfair, and that it acted at the instance of the government or conspired with the government in cases involving opposition politicians.
Dr Chee had also insinuated that judges were controlled by the government and were liable to be removed from the Bench if they were perceived to be lenient towards opposition politicians.
During the hearing, the SDP leader, who was given an opportunity to make his statement, spent much of the time referring to defamation cases he and other opposition politicians had faced in the Singapore courts to substantiate his claim about the independence of the country's judiciary.
At one point, the Judge had to intervene, urging Dr Chee not to turn the court of law into an election rally.
Before adjourning for the day, Justice Lai said the hearing was a chance for Dr Chee to show cause as to why he should not be cited for contempt of court.
But she ruled there was no basis for her not to grant an order.
The court will sit again on Friday at 10am to allow Dr Chee and his lawyer to reply to points raised by the Second Solicitor General, before sentence is passed. - CNA /ct
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