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JA Chao Hick Tin is more afraid of Ps Kong Hee than God?

Discussion in 'Singapore Crime' started by bic_cherry, Sep 29, 2017.

  1. bic_cherry

    bic_cherry Alfrescian Old Timer

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    JA Chao Hick Tin is more afraid of Ps Kong Hee than God?
    When Kong Hee claims to be agent of God, teaching people his own version of the Bible, how can it be considered an internal matter when he welds such powers over the congregation (if not the general public which independently or by invitation visit the religious institution for solace /guidance) to donate $$$ to good humanitarian / social causes?

    BTW, the Church is also a public place and considered a 'safe house ' for lost/ desperate people.
    Just like burglary by night is a greater crime than simple theft because it involves intruding into the safe and private quarters of a target victim, those who commit crimes in the sanctified compounds of charities / religious institutions or under the auspices of being religious leaders etc ought to be severely dealt with (KH committed burglary (not simple theft) because the church represents good of all civilization and NOT A PUBLIC / PRIVATE ENTERTAINMENT HUB).

    "CBT in “external” relationships - such as when a person “offers his services to the community at large” and from which services he makes a living - may fall under the aggravated provision."

    KH made a living as a businessman pastor and conducted his corrupt $ siphoning scam in a holy place where lost and needy people who sought guidance were deceived.

    To declare the legal situation an "internal" affair is to akin to saying that kidnappers who managed to induce the 'Stockholm syndrome ' on their victims are less culpable because the pathologically manifest affection by victims for their kidnappers is a major mitigating factor.

    KH is thus a criminal of the greatest degree who should by law "fall under the aggravated provision".

    The disappointment and damage to the psyche of the common man when religious leaders betray public trust cannot be underestimated in the environment where the primary fuel for terrorist organisations like ISIS is bonafide religious text taken out of context and used to advance nefarious goals. Much social damage will ensue if criminal religious leaders are treated with kid gloves.

    Just my personal opinion, no defamation intended, just think that it is really an OXYMORON that the self proclaimed agent of God who misappropriated people's $$$ turns out to be no 'agent' (by court of appeal legal interpretation) at all... the defense council really managed to tickle the bench funny bone, (especially of JA who are retiring soon).
    ==================
    City Harvest appeal: Kong Hee's sentence reduced to 3.5 years

    [​IMG]

    Six City Harvest leaders were in court on Friday to hear the outcomes of their appeals against their convictions and sentences for misappropriating church funds.

    By Vanessa Paige Chelvan
    07 Apr 2017 09:59AM (Updated: 15 Jun 2017 12:41PM)
    SINGAPORE: In a split decision on Friday (Apr 7), the High Court cut City Harvest Church’s pastor Kong Hee’s eight-year jail term to three-and-a-half years, along with those of five others convicted of misappropriating about S$50 million of church funds.

    Judge of Appeal Chao Hick Tin and Justice Woo Bih Li, in the majority, convicted Kong and five accomplices of reduced charges, resulting in significantly reduced sentences for the six. Justice Chan Seng Onn dissented.

    SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT
    All six were in court on Friday to hear the outcome of their appeal against both their conviction and sentences after being found guilty in October 2015.

    Former fund manager Chew Eng Han had his six-year sentence lowered to three years and four months, while deputy pastor Tan Ye Peng had his original five-and-a-half-year sentencecut to three years and two months.

    Former finance manager Serina Wee Gek Yin's original five-year sentence was halved to two years and six months, and former finance committee member John Lam Leng Hung's three-year sentencewas similarly halved to one year and six months.

    Former finance manager Sharon Tan Shao Yuen had her 21-month jail sentencereduced to seven months.

    Friday's hearing was the culmination of a five-day appeal heard in September last year by a three-judge panel, including Judge of Appeal Chao Hick Tin and Justices Woo Bih Li and Chan Seng Onn.

    After the revised sentences were announced, Kong, Lam, Chew, Wee and Tan Ye Peng all asked for their sentences to start after two weeks, and the court agreed.

    Sharon Tan asked to defer the start of her sentence by two months, as her family is relocating overseas in June and she said she wants to help her children adjust to the move. The court agreed to this too.

    Friday’s hearing before a packed courtroom took place nearly seven years after an investigation into the megachurch was launched in May 2010.

    The six were convicted in 2015 of the most serious form of criminal breach of trust (CBT) - under section 409 of the Penal Code - for misappropriating S$50 million of church funds to secretly bankroll the extravagant lifestyle and budding Hollywood career of Kong’s wife, Sun Ho.

    Kong, the “ultimate leader” of the group and “main player” in the conspiracy, “had directed and influenced” Chew, Ye Peng, Wee, Lam and Sharon, “providing them with the overall direction and moral assurance for their actions”, JA Chao and Justice Woo said.

    By virtue of their roles in the church - Ye Peng is a pastor, Chew and Lam were on the church’s board, and Wee and Sharon worked in the finance department - they were able to orchestrate a series of illicit transactions and cover ups for two years, between 2007 and 2009.

    A LANDMARK FINDING

    But in a blow to the prosecution, JA Chao and Justice Woo decided that not all the elements of the aggravated CBT charge had been made out, choosing instead to convict Kong, Chew, Ye Peng, Wee, Lam and Sharon of the least aggravated form of CBT, under section 406 of the Penal Code.

    In particular, the decision stemmed from a landmark finding that the six, despite being “directors” of the church entrusted with control over millions in the church’s coffers, cannot fall within section 409 because of the “internal” nature of their relationship with the church.

    JA Chao and Justice Woo said “the relationship between a director (who is entrusted with the property) and the company (which is the one entrusting the property) is an internal one and this stands in stark contrast to the external nature of the relationship that (an agent) shares with his customer who entrusts the property with him".

    "For these reasons, we do not think that a director who has been entrusted with the property of the company or organisation by virtue of his capacity as director can fall within section 409 of the Penal Code.”

    CBT in “external” relationships - such as when a person “offers his services to the community at large” and from which services he makes a living - may fall under the aggravated provision.

    "EXCEPTIONAL" MITIGATING FACTORS

    JA Chao and Justice Woo said that although the amount involved - S$50 million - is “substantial”, the “exceptional” mitigating factors in the case cannot be ignored, including the fact that the conspiracy involved no personal gain on the part of Kong and his accomplices.

    “This case should not be viewed as a sinister and malicious attempt on (their) part(s) to strip the church of funds for their own purposes,” the judges said. “They were acting in what they genuinely believed to be in (the church’s) interests.”

    The six resorted to “deceit and lies” to keep the conspiracy under wraps by inflating Ms Ho’s success and falsifying the church’s accounts to fool board members, auditors and lawyers, and lying to the congregation. But, the judges said, “it is telling that a substantial proportion of (the congregation) continued to support (Ms Ho’s career, in the name of evangelism) even after the full facts … were brought to light”.

    Speaking to reporters minutes after his wife’s jail term was halved, Wee’s husband said he “(doesn’t) want to think about it”. “The first thing I want to do is talk to my wife and … go back and spend time with my family,” he said.

    Sharon Tan, who was in tears, is “disappointed” that she was not acquitted, her lawyer Paul Seah said. “But at least the court recognised (she is the least culpable). Now she wants to spend time with her family and pray.”

    Lam said he would accept the verdict and “move on with life”. But Chew seemed less resigned. He told reporters he is seriously considering bringing his case to the Court of Appeal.

    Each party to the case has one month to apply for leave to refer a question of law to the apex court.
    Source: CNA/db
    Read more at http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news...g-hee-s-sentence-reduced-to-3-5-years-8717606
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
  2. bic_cherry

    bic_cherry Alfrescian Old Timer

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    Another perspective :
    ==============
    Making sense of the City Harvest Ruling
    The Public Response to the High Court Decision

    Photo: Ernest Chua
    The recent decision of the High Court in the appeal of Kong Hee and other members of the City Harvest Church (‘CHC’) has generated significant public discussion on the fairness and adequateness of the sentence. To provide a brief summary, the High Court had in a split decision reduced the sentences of Kong Hee and the other members of the management of the CHC. The reductions in sentences were significant, in most cases the offenders’ sentences was effectively halved. In reaching their decision, The High Court had to consider whether the offenders were ‘agents’ within the meaning of section 409 of the Penal Code.
    A closer look at Criminal Breach of Trust Offences
    Section 409 of the Penal Code is an aggravated form of Criminal Breach of Trust. Before going any further, it is probably useful to explain what an aggravated offence means briefly. A crime can be committed in many different ways. Because of this, Parliament sometimes prescribes different sentences for similar crimes which have been committed through adopting more aggravated methods. So within the Penal Code, you may sometimes find a class of offences for which different sentences are prescribed based on certain features of the crime. For example, the maximum punishment for rioting is seven years imprisonment under section 147 of the Penal Code. However, under section 148 of the Penal Code, the maximum sentence for rioting with a deadly weapon is ten years imprisonment. So we can see that although the base offences are similar for the two sections (i.e., the act of rioting), for obvious reasons, the crime of rioting with a deadly weapon is considered to be more serious than rioting without a deadly weapon.

    Similarly, the offence of Criminal Breach of Trust (‘CBT’) exists in various forms. There are different maximum sentences for:

    Simple CBT (Maximum imprisonment term of 7 years);
    CBT by a carrier (Maximum jail term of 15 years);
    CBT by a clerk or servant (Maximum jail term of 15 years);
    CBT by a public servant, banker, merchant or agent (Maximum jail term of life imprisonment or 20 years).
    To convict the CHC members under the most aggravated form of CBT, the prosecution would have had to prove not only that the CHC members were guilty of criminal breach of trust, but also that they were in fact agents. The purpose of this article, it is best not to delve into what constitutes an ‘agent’ as that probably deserves an entire article on its own, but it would suffice to say that in agency relationships, there is a very high level of trust vested in the agent. It is for this very reason that an offence involving CBT by an agent is viewed as particularly egregious, and deserving of harsher sanctions.
    What does the High Court Decision mean?
    Coming back to the decision by the High Court, there appears to be some confusion over the High Court’s findings. To put it simply, the High Court agreed that the CHC members were guilty of CBT but did not find that the relationship between the offenders and the church to be one that involved agency. At the time of publishing, the grounds of decision are unavailable, so we aren’t able to comment on the exact reasoning of the majority judges. Since the High Court found that the CHC members were not agents, the conviction under the most aggravated form of CBT could not stand. On this basis, they were convicted of the lesser charge of simple CBT, and since the maximum sentences for that offence are lower, the sentences had to be adjusted commensurately.
    Is The Decision Fair?
    Fairness is subjective, and each person is entitled to come to his or her own conclusion. However, it is important to analyse the decision on its merits and be mindful of the methods you employ to reach your conclusion. Social media has been abuzz with comparisons between the recent High Court decision and another case involving a man who was sentenced to 4 ½ years imprisonment for ‘stealing’ $1,900.00 from a mosque. Just reading the headlines may lead one to conclude that there is a disparity in sentencing between the two cases. However, a closer scrutiny of the latter case will reveal stark differences between the two.

    The individual who was convicted of stealing $1,900.00 was not charged with theft, but with the offence of ‘house-breaking by night’ to commit theft. This is an aggravated form of house-breaking, and the section under which he was convicted imposes a mandatory minimum sentence of 2 years imprisonment. Furthermore, this individual had committed the act of housebreaking by night 12 times on different occasions, and it appears that he was convicted of four charges of housebreaking by night to commit theft.

    In the circumstances, it would probably be unfair to compare the two cases based only on the amount of money involved. The offence of CBT is very different from the offence of house-breaking by night. The following non-exhaustive list provides some distinguishing features between the two:

    There is no act of stealing involved in CBT offences. The offence merely deals with persons who misappropriate funds which they have been legally entrusted with.

    House-breaking offences are considered more serious because it involves breaking into the property. The conduct of the perpetrator is bold, and it violates the sanctity and security of the property.

    House-breaking by night is considered to be more serious than the base offence of house-breaking as the perpetrator is taking advantage of the cover of night, the fact that the persons who own or reside on the property would probably have their guard down, and such offences are harder to detect.

    House-breaking by night to commit an offence has an additional layer of blameworthiness in that the perpetrator is not only breaking into the property under the cover of night but is doing so to commit another offence.

    The features of the offences discussed above will hopefully show that a comparison between the amount of money that has been misappropriated by one offender under CBT and money stolen by another offender in a house-breaking by night offence provides a weak basis for comparing the blameworthiness and the sentences imposed on the two offenders. Finally, one should also consider the number of charges for which the offender was convicted of when considering the appropriateness of the sentence.

    https://irblaw.com.sg/2017/04/10/making-sense-city-harvest-ruling/
     

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