SINGAPORE: Yang Kaiheng, one of the editors of socio-political blog The Real Singapore (TRS), has returned to Singapore, and appeared at the State Courts on Monday morning (May 18) for his pre-trial conference.
According to his lawyer Choo Zheng Xi, Yang returned on May 11. His father was flown back to Singapore too. Earlier this month, Yang had an application to leave Singapore for Australia approved, subject to conditions. He had wanted to visit his father, who was seriously ill.
Speaking to reporters after Monday's pre-trial conference, Mr Choo said they will make written representations to review the charges against Yang by Jun 8. These representations are made for the purpose of appealing to the Attorney-General's Chambers to withdraw or reduce the nature and the number of charges the accused faces, the lawyer added.
The next pre-trial conference is scheduled for Jul 1.
Yang and his fiancée Ai Takagi, who's also an editor at The Real Singapore, each face seven counts of sedition. They allegedly published seditious articles on the website between October 2013 and February this year, including one that falsely claimed that an incident between police and some members of the public during a Thaipusam procession.
The pair were also slapped with an eighth charge under the Penal Code for failing to produce documents to a police officer from the Criminal Investigation Department.
The Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) had on May 3 ordered The Real Singapore to stop posting articles and disable access to its website and social media accounts. It also suspended the statutory class licence for Takagi and Yang to operate the site and other online properties.
Yang and Takagi were handed court papers from Singapore Press Holdings outside court on Monday. (Photo: Elizabeth Goh)
COUPLE SUED BY SPH FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT
The Straits Times also confirmed in an article on Monday that the Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) served the couple court papers outside the State Courts for copyright infringement.
"SPH claims in the writ of summons that either Yang or Takagi or both have infringed its copyright in SPH content by reproducing and/or substantially reproducing SPH articles, and/or authorising their reproduction without the licence and authorisation of the company," Straits Times said in its report.
"SPH is seeking, among other things, a declaration that the defendants have infringed copyright; an injunction to restrain them; damages; alternatively an account of profits they have made by copyright infringement and payment of all sums found due," it added.
When served, both Takagi and Yang brushed by and did not accept the legal papers, according to a Channel NewsAsia reporter.
TODAY reported on Monday that the SPH civil lawsuit alleges at least 191 counts of copyright infringements for which the plaintiff is seeking to claim for loss and damages. The company identified articles from four newspapers - The Straits Times, My Paper, The New Paper and the Business Times - that is says the TRS editors had reproduced or authorised such reproduction without permission.
When contacted, lawyer Choo told TODAY that he had obtained a copy of the summons, but his clients have not seen the 49-page document which did not specify the amount claimed.