My Experience as one of the 21 Charged with Illegal Assembly

It was my first time sitting in the Magistrate Court’s dock where I used to see RPK sat in there during his trial. Never in my life had I ever thought I too will be in that dock.

On the 23rd January 2009 @ around 10am, the Magistrate Court's Clerk read to me my 2 charges, they were:
1) Participating in an illegal assembly
2) Failing to adhere Police’s order to disperse

Then I was asked “ANDREW NG YEW HAN, Mengaku salah atau Tidak?"

“TIDAK BERSALAH (NOT GUILTY)” were the words I said in the dock.

The Court's Dock area which I had the Priviledge to sit in

A few days before the trial, my dad told me; perhaps if I plead guilty, the penalty will be something like RM1000 fine that’s all. Well, he was wrong, I was told later that the charged under Section 27 of the Police Act (for both the offences) may fine me between RM2,000 and RM10,000 and/or a jail term of not more than one year for each charge.
Nearly pissed my pants after hearing that. Maybe those Prison break series I watched might come in handy this time.

After the 21 accused pleaded “Not Guilty” and asked to be trialed, the DPP suggested a RM5000 bail for our release and the submission of our passport to the court. When I heard RM5000 as bail, I felt very uneasy but still keeping my game face in the court.

Gobind Singh Deo, who is representing most of us argued the shrewdness of a RM5000 bail suggested by the DPP. Furthermore, he continues to argue that the majority of the accused are Chinese. Chinese New Year is near and money is needed and begged for the judge’s mercy.

When comes to the DPP’s turn, she strongly believed that the RM5000 bail is important as it will ensure the presence of the accused in the court. It guarantees smooth court proceeding.