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Court dismisses Healing the Divide founder Iris Koh's complaints against police officers

Court dismisses Healing the Divide founder Iris Koh's complaints against police officers

Iris Koh (left), founder of Healing the Divide, and her husband Raymond Ng at the State Courts on Jun 23, 2022. (Photo: TODAY/Raj Nadarajan)

SINGAPORE: A Magistrates Court has dismissed Healing the Divide founder Iris Koh’s complaints against four police officers over handling items seized from her during her arrest.

Koh faces four charges in court, including two charges of conspiring to defraud the Ministry of Health. The Healing the Divide group has a known stance against COVID-19 vaccination.

According to the grounds of a decision that was published on Saturday (Jan 14), Koh had submitted documents on Nov 18 last year to lodge a complaint to a magistrate. The complaint is separate from the four criminal charges she faces.

Such a complaint is an application for a magistrate to examine an alleged offence or to give directions for further action. Anyone who believes that a criminal offence has been committed against them can file a complaint.

In her complaint, Koh alleged that four Singapore Police Force (SPF) officers had breached protocol.

She claimed that items seized from her during her arrest – a MacBook laptop, a Vivo mobile phone and an original cloud email disk containing her emails – were not sealed in tamper-proof bags with her signature, and were instead in envelopes.

Koh was concerned that “fraudulent evidence” could be planted in her devices, according to court documents.

In her complaint, she said the evidence had been compromised and that the evidence was no longer admissible in court. She was also concerned that the four police officers were “not forthcoming or kept silent or were misleading her with their reticence”.

She added that when she was given exact copies of her three electronic devices, she was “extremely shocked” that the police officer who signed off on them was on medical leave.

After the Magistrate’s Complaint framework was explained to her and she was informed that the breach of the protocol would not constitute a criminal offence, she stated that the offences were under Sections 182 and/or 187 (1) of the Penal Code.

Section 182 states that anyone who gives a public servant any information he knows or believes to be false, and the public servant uses lawful power to cause injury or annoyance, can be penalised.

Koh alleged that the police officers committed the offences as they had not assisted a member of the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) team.

In the grounds of his decision, Senior Magistrate Hamzah Moosa said her allegations that her devices should be sealed in tamper-proof bags should be raised by her lawyer in the trial court and be dealt with by the trial judge.

The magistrate also told Koh her other allegations, including that the four police officers may have misled her by their silence, should be dealt with by the trial judge.

He reiterated that her contention that one or more of the police officers lied to her on Nov 4, 2022 that the copies of the evidence were not ready, when they were provided to her three days later, was not a criminal offence.

“Her response to this was that somebody lied to her and that is an offence,” said the magistrate.

“I also informed Ms Iris Koh that she was at liberty – with respect to her concerns or allegations regarding the possible misconduct of one or more of the four police officers – to lodge a complaint with the relevant department of the SPF or raise the matter with the AGC.”

He added that Koh did not provide any credible evidence that an offence was committed by any of the four police officers under the Penal Code and that there was insufficient evidence to proceed with her complaint.

Koh has filed an appeal against the magistrate’s decision.

Source: CNA/mi(gs)


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