Channel NewsAsia
Updated: 01/23/2013 02:49 | By Channel NewsAsia

Court to decide on hearing date for Section 377A case

Court to decide on hearing date for Section 377A case

Court to decide on hearing date for Section 377A case

SINGAPORE: The High Court will set a date to hear the case revolving around a challenge against the law that makes sex between men a crime, after lawyers from both sides submit their documents.

Justice Quentin Loh has given the lawyers until 4 February to do so. He decided on this at a pre—trial conference on 18 January.

The case surfaced in September 2010, when Tan Eng Hong applied to have Section 377A declared unconstitutional.

Tan was arrested in March that year for having oral sex with another man at a public toilet in CityLink Mall.

Both of them pleaded guilty in October 2010 to an amended charge of committing an obscene act in a public place.

Each was fined S$3,000.

In December, 2010, Tan’s constitutional challenge against Section 377A was struck out by the assistant registrar on the grounds that it was, among other things, an abuse of court process.

Tan appealed to the High Court but the judge dismissed it on the grounds that there was no real controversy to be decided, as he had already pleaded guilty and was convicted of a different charge.

Tan then took his case to the Court of Appeal, which disagreed with the High Court ruling.

Meanwhile, the Attorney—General’s Chambers (AGC) has urged against public discussion on this matter.

This is because the statements made by members of the public risk sub judice contempt.

AGC said in a statement released on Tuesday night there would be a real risk of prejudice if the statements are calculated to affect the minds of the courts hearing the case, parties concerned in the case, or if they amount to public pre—judgement of the case.

It added it takes a serious view of any statements which are sub judice and will, if necessary, act to protect the integrity of the administration of justice.

— CNA/ck

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