Yawning Bread blogger could face contempt of court action

Published: 4:02 AM, November 26, 2013
Updated: 4:00 AM, November 27, 2013

SINGAPORE — The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) is seeking the High Court’s permission to bring a contempt of court action against blogger Alex Au over two posts published on his blog Yawning Bread in October.

In papers filed in the High Court, the AGC said the articles “scandalise” Singapore’s judiciary and “pose a real threat of undermining public confidence in the administration of justice” here.

In one post published on Oct 5, Mr Au is said to have alleged that there was a “plan” to deliberately manipulate hearing dates and delay the issuing of grounds of decision in an application filed by Mr Tan Eng Hong seeking a declaration that Section 377A of the Penal Code is unconstitutional, so that Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon could hear another appeal first.

In another post published on Oct 12, Mr Au is said to have insinuated that the Singapore judiciary is “incompetent and/or biased” when he commented in the post that he did not have “high hopes” for an application seeking a declaration that Article 12 of the Constitution prohibits discrimination against gay men on account of their sexual orientation in the course of employment.

The hearing takes place today. If permission is granted, Mr Au will be served with court papers and a hearing date will be fixed.

When contacted, Mr Au — who has been served with legal warnings in the past over his blog posts — declined to comment.

In July last year, he wrote a post alleging that plastic surgeon Woffles Wu had received special treatment over a speeding offence.

The post was deemed to be in contempt of court and Mr Au subsequently apologised, but he put up a post days later arguing that Singapore’s law on contempt prevents debate and curtails free speech.