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CHC Trial: Defense Objects To “Unfounded” Insinuation Of Fresh Exhibit

DPP Mavis Chionh throws curveball suggestions at defendant late into the day based on new evidence submitted by church’s former fund manager Chew Eng Han, prompting rigorous objections from the defense team.

Late this afternoon in court, senior counsel N Sreenivasan for Tan Ye Peng objected strongly when deputy public prosecutor Mavis Chionh made an attempt to “inject unknown suppositions” in her questioning of John Lam.

In a new email exhibit submitted by accused party Chew Eng Han, the court saw that a discussion had allegedly taken place among the defendants in Feb 2013, over half a year after criminal charges had been pressed against the six.

The email showed Lam informing Chew that co-defendants Sharon Tan and Serina Wee wanted to meet up to talk about the round-tripping charges, and that it was preferable for them not to have differing views from one another.

Wouldn’t an accused person who is honest just go to court and tell the truth instead of trying to meet up with his co-accused persons, worrying about their taking a different view from him on the charges? asked Chionh.

At that, Sreenivasan stood up and objected to Chionh’s question because it suggested that consulting one’s co-accused was a dishonest act. “Even an honest person in a joint trial will be concerned about all the evidence, including the evidence of the co-accused,” he reminded the court.

“I’m objecting to the fact that the entry of this document is being used to make insinuations that are unfounded,” he said.

The judge allowed the question, however, leading Lam to testify that he disagreed with the DPP’s suggestion.

In the last piece of evidence in the prosecution’s cross-examination, Chionh presented to the court a spreadsheet sent to Chew by Lam, which contained information about external loans that had been taken in order to provide funds to Xtron to fulfil its liability to City Harvest Church.

When asked why Wahju Hanafi was listed in the list of creditors who had extended the external loans, when he was the guarantor of the Crossover Project, Lam replied that he did not know.

Earlier, Chionh also sought to establish the depth of Lam’s involvement in the restructuring and redemption of the Xtron and Firna bonds, and questioned his lack of objection when a particular proposal, which seemed not protective of CHC’s interest, was made by Chew.

Lam explained that he could not see how the proposal could work, but did not offer his view because at that stage, plans and scenarios were at an exploratory stage.

Chionh labelled his explanations “absurd” and “unreasonable.” She asked Lam, hypothetically, if somebody had proposed to him a plan to steal his company’s money, would he also have kept silent? Lam replied that it was not the same—one was simply a plan he felt was unworkable, while the other was an outright crime.

In winding up the prosecution’s cross-examination today, Chionh put forward her case against Lam as follows.

“You knew that the Building Fund could not be used to fund the Crossover directly, and that was why this use of the Building Fund had to be disguised as a legitimate investment.

“You were a board member at the time, Mr Lam, is it not the case that you placed the interests of the Crossover over and above your duty as a CHC board member to ensure proper stewardship of the Building Fund?

“You may have had your own motives for why you chose to misuse the church funds in this way, but the bottom line, I’m putting to you, is that you were aware that using the Building Fund to finance Sun Ho’s music career in the Crossover was an unauthorised use of the Building Fund.”

Lam disagreed with all her points. His lawyer, Kenneth Tan, will be conducting re-examination tomorrow.

Court resumes at 10am tomorrow.

Source: The City News Team, CHC Trial: Defense Objects To “Unfounded” Insinuation Of Fresh Exhibit, CityNews, http://www.citynews.sg/2014/08/chc-trial-defense-objects-to-unfounded-insinuation-of-fresh-exhibit/, Updated on August 7, 2014 at 11:36 pm. (Accessed 16/08/2014.)

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