Channel NewsAsia
Updated: 02/09/2013 04:54 | By Channel NewsAsia

Trial dates set for 4 ex—SMRT drivers accused of instigating strike

Trial dates set for 4 ex—SMRT drivers accused of instigating strike

Trial dates set for 4 ex—SMRT drivers accused of instigating strike

SINGAPORE : The trial dates have been set for the four ex—SMRT drivers from China, who are accused of instigating an illegal strike in November last year.

The four men, Gao Yue Qiang, 32, Liu Xiangying, 33, Wang Xianjie, 39, and He Jun Ling, 32, will go on a joint trial from March 4 to 8 this year.

The dates are for the first tranche of trial.

This was revealed on Friday after a closed—door session at the Subordinate Courts.

Lawyer Peter Low, who represents He, told reporters after the session that they were "ready to go for trial".

Mr Low said there will be another closed—door session on February 22.

The session is meant to check lawyers’ progress for trial, and is unlikely to affect the trial dates.

Defence lawyers did not say how many witnesses will be called to the trial.

But Andrew Goh, who represents Liu, said one of the likely defence witnesses would be the doctor who issued medical certificates to some drivers on November 27 — the day after the illegal strike.

Meanwhile, lawyers are still translating some 200 pages of documents in Mandarin.

These are messages posted by about 100 SMRT drivers on a Chinese social networking portal called QQ.

Mr Goh cannot confirm if the documents will be used as evidence in court. But he added that they can suggest the kind of involvement each ex—driver had, as the drivers’ "sentiments were all ventilated" on QQ.

Lawyers have also offered the documents to the prosecution.

The Attorney—General’s Chambers (AGC) said the prosecution will be reviewing these documents.

An AGC spokesperson also said the prosecution will be calling more than 30 witnesses, including SMRT officials, bus drivers and police officers.

The spokesperson also addressed the issue of a filmmaker, whose laptop and mobile phone were seized by the police for investigation.

The filmmaker, Lynn Lee, had shot videos of He and Liu, who claimed they were abused while they were held for questioning in November last year.

The AGC said the film and abuse allegations are separate issues from the trial.

— CNA/ms

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