alexau04eSingapore: The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) is refiling a contempt of court charge against sociopolitical blogger Alex Au for a post on workplace discrimination against gay people.

This comes after the Court of Appeal recently allowed the AGC to appeal against last year’s High Court ruling that it had no basis to act against Au, reported todayonline.com

The AGC maintains that one of two of the 61-year-old blogger’s post “scandalized the judiciary.”

The High Court gave the AGC permission to proceed against Au for an Oct 5 post on his blog Yawning Bread, but rejected the AGC’s contempt of court application for a second article posted on Oct 12 on the same blog.

The AGC filed an appeal against the High Court’s decision over the Oct 12 post, but used the wrong legal procedure. The Court of Appeal then ordered the AGC to file a new application.

It is reported that the Senior State Counsel Tai Wei Shyong will argue on appeal that the second article, read on its own and/or together with the first article is prima facie contemptuous.

“The AG will also submit that the second article, which discussed, inter alia, workplace discrimination against homosexuals, ought to be read in the light of the first article, which referred to the constitutionality of the penal offence which criminalizes gay sex, given that the two articles were published on Au’s blog within a close space of seven days,” Tai Wei Shyong  told todayonline.com.

Au’s Oct 5 post, titled 377 Wheels Come Off Supreme Court’s Best-Laid Plans, is alleged to have accused the Supreme Court of “deliberately manipulating hearing dates.”

In his Oct 12 post Au is alleged to have accused the judiciary of being incapable of making independent judgments relating to two employer discrimination cases that Wee Kim San Lawrence Bernard, a gay man, had brought to court.

The Court of Appeal May 8 has allowed the AGC to appeal against the High Court decision over the Oct 12 article and denied Au’s request to contest that appeal. The hearing is set for July or August.

Au is openly gay. “I have known I was gay since, what? my early teens…I have never been “confused” nor ridden with guilt and conflict,” he says in his blog Yawning Bread blog where articles either are about gay issues, or at least tangentially touch on same-sex relations.

Singapore courts are consistent in throwing out anti-gay discrimination lawsuits citing the Section 377A law in Singapore’s penal code. The British colonial-era law criminalizes same-sex relations and carries a maximum penalty of two years in jail.

Gay rights activists have been advocating to get the law repealed but with little success.

Source: todayonline.com

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