Judging from an AFP report on the net which is about 4 hours old, Gopalan Nair’s original charge of insulting a public officer via sending her an email has not been substituted. The new charge is apparently one of insulting via the blog contents and it is now under the Penal Code as opposed to the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act.
In my earlier blog entry, ‘From Folly to Freedom’ dated 5th June, I had said the following:
I’m a little curious as to the precise wording of the charge against him. If the charge was worded in exactly the same manner as indicated in parenthesis above in the AFP report, then there is a serious slip in the charge.
If the charge is eventually amended to one involving the contents in the blog and not the alleged email, then there is likely to be an interesting jurisdiction issue.
My reason for stating the above was that from multiple reports both on the net as well as in the papers, I got the impression that the charge probably stated the email sent by Gopalan Nair contained the words ‘prostituting herself’. I thought it odd that he would have sent an email to her and used the word ‘herself’ instead of ‘yourself’. I couldn’t help but wonder if the person drafting the charge had made a mistake of quoting from the blog instead of quoting from any alleged email. Of course, given Gopalan Nair’s assertion that he did not send the alleged email to the judge, there arose the possibility that there was in fact no such email to quote from and hence the blog became the source of the wording in the charge. The inevitable slip might have occurred.
Of course, there is the legitimate possibility that the charge did not attempt to quote verbatim from the alleged email and that it had paraphrased the email to write in the 3rd person as ‘herself’ instead of the alleged email content which may have been ‘yourself’. Who knows?
Anyway, the story emanating from AFP is that the original charge has now been replaced. So, it is safe to assume that he is now facing one charge in relation to his blog comments about Justice Belinda Ang and another charge in relation to an email sent to Justice Lai Siu Chiu 2 years ago.
On another note: Gopalan Nair neither admits nor denies sending an email to Justice Lai Siu Chiu. But, he has been quite unequivocal in his denial of sending an email to Justice Belinda Ang. The following is from his blog entry:
As far as the Email to Judge Lai Sui Chu, this was more than 2 years ago. I cannot remember if I sent that Email. Even if I did, I was not in Singapore at the time. I was physically in Fremont, Northern California. If I sent the Email, it was from Fremont Northern California. From 2006 March to present I had traveled to Singapore on at least one occasion on November 2006 without incident.
So, he is saying that he may or may not have sent the email. Memory is not perfect. I guess that is a possible explanation. But, of course, the inevitable gut feeling that one gets here is that since he did not deny the email outright, he is either conscious of the fact that he has sent such an email or of the fact that he had composed such an email that he was contemplating the possibility of sending and did not in the end send it out (or he can’t remember if he in fact sent it). Who knows?