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Rooftop graffiti case: Teen granted access to lawyer, but no gag order

SINGAPORE — One of five teenagers accused of vandalising a Housing and Development Board block in Toa Payoh last week was yesterday allowed access to his lawyer, but his application for a gag order on his identity — on account of his age — was dismissed.

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SINGAPORE — One of five teenagers accused of vandalising a Housing and Development Board block in Toa Payoh last week was yesterday allowed access to his lawyer, but his application for a gag order on his identity — on account of his age — was dismissed.

At a hearing in the State Courts yesterday, prosecutors said David William Graaskov would be granted access to his lawyer before the end of the day, but objected to his identity being gagged.

Graaskov and four others, all aged 17, are allegedly behind spray-painted graffiti, including expletives, directed towards the People’s Action Party and the police at the top of Block 85A, Lorong 4 Toa Payoh last Wednesday.

Defence counsel Choo Zheng Xi had gone to the courts after he was denied access to Graaskov after the latter was arrested on Friday.

Yesterday, Mr Choo produced screenshots of online forum discussions relating to his client in arguing that Graaskov’s identity should not be allowed to be published further.

The lawyer noted that his client was being vilified online and that this was damaging to the teenager’s future.

However, Deputy Public Prosecutor Tang Shangjun argued that gag orders are generally used to protect the identity of victims, and not accused persons. There were also no good reasons for a gag order to be granted in the premises, he added.

Questioning the effect of a gag order at this stage, District Judge Eddy Tham also asked Mr Choo if there were precedents of a gag order being imposed on an accused person. When he was told no such orders had been granted in the past, the judge said it would be inappropriate to grant Graaskov a gag order.

Graaskov was also allowed one phone call to his parents after the court session yesterday.

The other four accused of the vandalism are Boaz Koh Wen Jie, Chay Nam Shen, Goh Rong Liang and Reagan Tan Chang Zhi.

Their case will be mentioned in court again on Friday.If convicted, they face up to three years in jail, or a fine of up to S$2,000, and at least three strokes of the cane.

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