Teenage YouTuber Amos Yee was back at the State Courts on Tuesday (Apr 21) for a bail review. He had been remanded at Changi Prison since last Friday, after no bail was posted for him following a pre-trial conference that day.
The 16-year-old appeared in court handcuffed and dressed in a purple jumpsuit just after 4pm, and looked calm. Three lawyers, Alfred Dodwell, Chong Jia Hao from Dodwell & Co LLC, and Ervin Tan from Michael Hwang Chambers LLC told the court they would be acting for Yee pro bono. Mr Dodwell said a bailor was on the way, but offered no further details.
Yee’s parents were at the State Courts on Tuesday, as well as a few other members of the public who said they were there to show moral support for the teen. Activist Jolovan Wham and was spotted at the Court as well.
Yee’s pre-trial conference has been moved forward to Apr 30, 3pm.
He was charged with multiple offences on Mar 31, after posting a video which contained disparaging remarks against Christians. On Apr 14, Yee posted on his blog and made two Facebook posts asking for public donations. Doing this meant he flouted his initial bail conditions – which disallowed him to post materials online.
The Court on Friday changed the police bail to a court bail, and set new conditions for bail such as making the YouTube video private and having to report to an Investigation Officer at Bedok Police Station every day at 9am.
YEE BAILED OUT BY YOUTH COUNSELLOR
At about 6.10pm, Yee was brought to the bail centre, still handcuffed and with ankle restraints, accompanied by more than five officers. Youth and family counsellor Vincent Law posted bail for him.
Mr Law said that he came forward to post the S$20,000 bail as he is a Christian, and wanted to show he was not offended by Yee’s posts. “It seems the charges say he made disparaging remarks about Christianity. I’m a Christian and I’m stepping up to say I’m not offended,” he said, adding that he, too, is a parent.
The 51-year-old, who is not related to the Yee family, hopes that Yee will also be willing to be counselled by him, and that he may respond better to a third party.
Yee was released at about 7pm.
YEE AGREED TO PULL DOWN OFFENSIVE POSTS: LAWYER
Mr Dodwell is on the board of directors for socio-political website The Independent.Sg. Asked about his pro-bono contribution to the case, he told Channel NewsAsia: “Because he’s a 16-year-old boy and everybody requires and needs legal representation. Needless to say, I have been following these news and I learnt that he’s not had any lawyer come forward to represent him and it is not easy for anybody to manoeuvre through the criminal justice system let alone a 16-year-old.
“We may not agree with him on what he has posted… (but) if it is a crime it has to be proven in the court of law and it needs some level of representation, that’s what we’re doing in this case.”
Mr Dodwell said he had yet to meet with Yee to “have a discussion with him on where he wants to go with this”, but that his client has been cooperative so far, having “immediately agreed” to pull down the offensive posts.