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Woman seen on video not wearing mask asks AGC to drop charges, claims errors in investigations

Woman seen on video not wearing mask asks AGC to drop charges, claims errors in investigations

Phoon Chiu Yoke leaving the State Courts on Jun 8, 2021. (Photo: TODAY/Raj Nadarajan)

SINGAPORE: A woman who faces multiple charges for not wearing a mask in public has asked the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) to drop her charges, citing "various serious errors in the investigation process". 

Phoon Chiu Yoke, 53, faces multiple charges for contravening COVID-19 regulations by not wearing a mask. She was given most of the charges last month, after turning up in court for an earlier offence and being photographed without a mask.

READ: Woman seen on video not wearing mask given more charges, remanded for psychiatric observation

She was taken back to court on Tuesday (Jun 8) at the end of her remand at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH).

The prosecutor said the IMH report was ready, but did not provide more details on it.

The prosecutor asked for four weeks' adjournment pending the completion of investigations, as well as possible additional charges for similar offences to be tendered.

The prosecution offered Phoon, who was unrepresented, S$10,000 bail, with various conditions including to abide by COVID-19 restrictions and not to reoffend.

When the judge asked Phoon if she had anything to say, she said: "I would like to apply for the charges to be dropped and for me to be discharged."

Phoon, who was escorted by officers and was wearing a mask, said: "This is in consideration that I am a professional. I am an ex-Naval officer and have strong professional standing. I also have a series of ex-medical history which in most other cases many other people will be ... totally dependent on a respiratory system."

Phoon said that the charges should not stand as there were "various procedural errors" in investigations.

Providing an example, she claimed the investigating officer did not ask her for her identity, and did not have an arrest warrant when she arrested her.

When District Judge Janet Wang asked Phoon if she would like to engage counsel, Phoon said she would like to defend herself at this point in time.

"Before I was discharged at IMH, I was given a copy of the court outcome. I was informed I would be discharged and the cases would be dropped," she continued.

On the offered bail of S$10,000, Phoon said she would like it to be reduced to S$3,000, again referencing her former Navy career and "contributions to Singapore as a pioneer".

"If I have to pay for bail, then it will just be S$3,000 and no need for any surety, because I have a strong professional standing," she said.

When asked who could stand bail for her, Phoon said her family members in Singapore were either ill or in old age, and that most of her friends were overseas.

"I don't think the charges are serious enough to ask for such a high bail amount," she added.

The judge offered her S$8,000 bail, slightly lower than what the prosecution asked for, and granted her two local phone calls to make the necessary arrangements.

She reminded Phoon that she could not commit any offence while on bail, and to abide by COVID-19 restrictions.

"Your honour, could you clarify what's the COVID-19 (restrictions)?" asked Phoon.

"The laws everyone is abiding by," replied Judge Wang. "To put your mask on when you are in a public space."

"Yes, your honour," said Phoon.

Phoon will return to court next week.

Source: CNA/ll

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