TOC article about case involving doctor acquitted of molest contains ‘complete falsehoods’: AGC
SINGAPORE: The Online Citizen’s (TOC) article about a molest case in which a doctor was acquitted contains “a series of complete falsehoods” and makes a “variety of unsubstantiated and inflammatory allegations”, said the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) on Wednesday (Sep 1).
The AGC had on Tuesday issued a statement saying that no action will be taken against a woman who claimed a doctor had molested her, after the doctor was acquitted. Dr Yeo Sow Nam was granted a discharge amounting to an acquittal on Aug 16.
On Wednesday, TOC editor Terry Xu posted a story on its website about the AGC’s media statement on Tuesday.
The article said the AGC should have done the “right thing by charging the complainant”.
“TOC has therefore, without basis, determined the guilt of the complainant. This is highly irresponsible,” said AGC on Wednesday, adding that it had laid out its reasons for not charging the woman in its statement the day before.
“It is unfortunate that TOC has not dealt with those reasons, no doubt because they serve as an inconvenient rebuttal of TOC’s position,” it said.
TOC also said the AGC had misled the public by stating that Dr Yeo’s lawyer, Eugene Thuraisingam, had to withdraw his application to lift the gag order because it was the AGC that highlighted provisions in the Women’s Charter and Criminal Procedure Code.
“This makes no sense. To accuse AGC of being misleading when it correctly and properly opposed the application, and drew Mr Thuraisingam’s attention to the relevant legal provisions, is absurd,” said the AGC.
“TOC conveniently glosses over the fact that this proves it would have been obvious that any such application is bound to fail. If so, why was it filed by Mr Thuraisingam to begin with and what were the motivations for his oral submissions on Aug 16 in support of an application he knew full well he had to withdraw?”
The AGC added that it is “categorically false” that it was “protecting its own skin” by not charging the complainant.
“The article unsurprisingly provides no evidence to support this assertion, instead conveniently couching it as supposition on the author’s part. The making of such serious allegations under the guise of asking ‘who knows’ is disingenuous and dishonest,” it said in its media statement.
The assertion that an acquittal - after a withdrawal of charges, or a full trial - evidences wrongdoing by AGC is “baseless”, it added.
“This mischaracterises AGC’s role and the nature of the judicial process. AGC assesses each case it prosecutes very carefully.
“However, prosecutions can, at times, not result in a conviction for a variety of reasons, including interpretations of the law, a court concluding that a case has not been proven beyond reasonable doubt, or, as in this case, where the prosecution withdraws the charge(s) if it is of the view that the legal standards required to pursue the case in court are no longer met.
“This is inherent in the nature of the judicial process.”
CNA has contacted TOC for comment on the AGC's latest media statement.