SINGAPORE — Opposition politician Charles Yeo was charged in court on Wednesday (19 January) over insulting remarks towards Christianity and a public servant.
Yeo, a well-known Reform Party (RP) member who ran in the 2020 General Election, was handed three charges under the Protection from Harassment Act for harassing communication to a police officer and three charges for deliberately intending to wound religious feelings.
The 31-year-old Singaporean, who is also a criminal defence lawyer at Whitefield Law Corporation, is said to have posted a series of Instagram Stories with threatening, abusive and insulting remarks towards a police officer over three occasions on 3 November 2020 and 11 January last year.
Yeo also allegedly made insulting remarks on his Instagram and Facebook accounts against the Christian community on three occasions in November 2020, and 23 and 26 February 2021.
On these three occasions, he is said to have uploaded a post aimed at Christians who view homosexuality as contrary to their religious beliefs.
The remarks were not specified in Yeo's charge sheets.
Yeo said through his lawyer Ashwin Ganapathy that he will be disputing the charges for wounding religious feelings. No plea was taken.
The prosecution told Yeo that he should be "mindful" of what he posted on social media as he could find himself "in trouble" if he posted content that was similar to what he was charged over. The prosecutor added that they might ask for an increase in bail or for bail to be revoked if Yeo committed additional offences.
Ganapathy replied that he would advise his client on this point.
Yeo's case will return to court for a pre-trial conference on 25 February.
Arrested for CBT, forgery
Yeo was arrested last Wednesday for criminal breach of trust and forgery offences. He has not been charged over these offences and investigations are pending and will take a while, the prosecution told the court.
Investigations against Whitefield are also ongoing, according to media reports. The law practice’s website states that it is under maintenance.
On Sunday, RP announced that its Central Executive Committee (CEC) had accepted Yeo's affair to step aside as party chair until his case is resolved.
Yeo ran as part of RP’s slate of candidates for the Ang Mo Kio Group Representation Constituency in 2020. RP garnered 28.09 per cent of the vote share against Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's People’s Action Party team.
If convicted of threatening remarks against a police officer, a person may be jailed up to a year, fined up to $5,000, or both.
If convicted of making remarks to wound the religious feelings of the Christian community, a person may be jailed up to three years, or fined, or both.
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