When reading through this article, one can’t help notice the argument, appealing to the effects of the family.
It is an illegitimate argument that there was no “no real victim” and that there was”no personal gain” when one analyses Kong Hee and Sun Ho’s “ministry”. We have video footage of Kong Hee shamelessly exploiting the sick in his church to give money to the building fund at the expense of church members medical needs and medical bills.
The most vulnerable people in his church are the victims to Kong Hee and Sun Ho’s exploitation for their highlife and celebrity status (in the name of Jesus).
What about the families of the sick who gave all their money to the Building Fund? What about those families who downgraded their lifestyles to give to the Building Fund, only to find out that what they were giving too was a sham?
Remember: the money went into this musical “ministry” of Sun Ho in the name of Jesus:
Lets also not forget the most popular victim, Roland Poon. He would have gone through hell when he spoke up originally about the church’s financial mismanagement. What about the families of Roland Poon who had to deal with the false accusations against him and other forms of CHC bullying?
Chanel News Asia Reports,
City Harvest trial live updates: Guilty back in court for oral submissions
The six City Harvest leaders who were found guilty are back in court on Friday (Nov 20) for oral submissions.
SINGAPORE: The six City Harvest leaders who were found guilty on Oct 21 are back in court on Friday (Nov 20) for both prosecution and defence to make oral submissions to the judge on the appropriate sentences for the six found guilty.
Friday is also the earliest date for sentencing.
11.12am: Tan Ye Peng’s lawyer N Sreenivasan said: “You are being asked just to take on board the opinion of the prosecution as opposed to policy. We dont do that. When you address on sentence and you ask for deterrence, it must be backed up, and we don’t have that. The prosecution’s formulation of the sentences should not even be taken into account.”
11.04am: Lawyer Paul Seah: “My client is not a hardened criminal. She’s a faithful wife, loving mother to three young kids, a longtime servant of CHC. These reasons I ask you for a lenient sentence.”
11am: Sharon Tan’s lawyer Paul Seah said: “It is clear that she did not play a role. In a conspiracy, the law differentiates between a mastermind and an underling. She did not formulate the plans. Co-accused Tan Ye Peng and Chew Eng Han have characterised her as a follower who put into actions their plans.”
10.44am: “John Lam did not enjoy any personal gain,” said lawyer Kenneth Tan. “Kong Hee has submitted at length on this point and we wont repeat this subsmission. Our point is a similar one.”
Added Mr Tan: “He was happily married, with two teenage children and he is supporting his aged parents. His employment was terminated the day Your Honour convicted him. Given the conviction, it would be challenging for him moving forward to find new employment … there will be no specific deterrence in putting John Lam away for any length of time.”
“I ask you then in looking first of all at the offence to take into account that it is very different from many other circumstances like this. Church funds, church purposes, no real victim, no permanent loss, no personal gain.”
10.39am: Lawyer Kenneth Tan: “Unlike the rest of the co-accused, you have found that John Lam’s involvement was not extensive, much less compared to that of the other accused. You found that although he knew and participated less, he knew that these funds were to be used for the Crossover Project.”
“But you found that in the circumstances, he knew that the way the money was used was not an authorised use, but he facilitated such a use and he was therefore dishonest. His involvement was intermittent … he did not know the detail of what was going on but you found that he chose not to ask too many questions but placed his trust in church leaders.”
10.34am: Said Lam’s lawyer Kenneth Tan: “You have found that John Lam made a mistake. a serious mistake and you have found that he acted dishonestly, causing wrongful loss to his church. He cant be excused for this wrong, so I ask you in tailoring the punishment to suit the man, please look at the man in the circumstances in which you found in uncharacteristically guilty.”
“He did not use the money which had been used for an unauthorised purpose for his own gain. What he did was he facilitated the use of church monies to further the church’s mission for the crossover to evangelise,” added Mr Tan.
10.31am: Representing John Lam is lawyer Kenneth Tan. Lam “tried and he still tries to live the life of a good man, a God-fearing christian. He’s never been in trouble with the law. He’s different from Kong Hee, he’s not the charismatic leader who sets the agenda … he helps in his own quiet way.”
“John Lam trusted Kong Hee, his spiritual leader for many years,” added Mr Tan. “I set out these facts because unlike charismatic leader that Kong Hee is, John Lam could be any one of us and in fact in many ways he is better than many of us.”
10.28am: Kong Hee’s lawyer Edwin Tong has ended his oral submission.
10.26am: Said lawyer Edwin Tong: “Kong Hee has got no antecedents, and has demonstrated remorse. This trial and investigations started in 2010 – a good 5 years.”
“He has got aged parents in their 80s, who rely on him as their sole provider. They worry about him in their old age. He has two deaf and mute siblings who he provides for. He has a 10 year old son too … as a result of this, his son has had to see a psychiatrist to be evaluated and been taken out of school.”
10.20am: “In other cases, there was personal gain, so I understand why the greater the amount, the greater the sentence,” said Kong Hee’s lawyer Edwin Tong. “But not in this case, no profits, no gain was made by any accused. Not only were they no wrongful gains but there was no intention even to make any wrongful gain.”
“And that is a key point,” he added.
10.14am: “No harm was suffered by the church,” said lawyer Edwin Tong. “There was a return of the monies to the church. There is no victim in this case, the prosecution has argued that despite the fact that CHC was the owner of the funds, these funds were accumulated from a large number of individuals … the court ought to acknowledge that no one was actually harmed.”
10.08am: Kong Hee’s lawyer continues his oral submission: “You found that CHC members did not have knowledge … Chew explained that this was in deference to the wisdom of their leaders … You found also that well before drawdown, this document was available to the lawyers. It would have been easy for any board member to come to the realisation that the bond proceeds were being used.”
10.04am: “It’s fair to say that Kong Hee was always acting in CHC’s interests,” said Mr Edwin Tong. “On an overriding basis when you look at the approrpriate sentence … look at the entire conduct, purpose in the route and look at the motivation … why were these bonds necessary?”
“They all went towards the Crossover Project which they genuinely believed to be … for the best of the church,” he added. “There is no doubt that accused loved CHC and … in using the funds for the Crossover Project, using church funds for evangelistic purposes … there is no evidence of any wrongdoing.”
10.02am: Kong Hee’s lawyer Edwin Tong: “The point I’m making is that that demonstrates they did scrutinise the budget. Having obtained the bonds … that was not a license to go out and spend the church’s money as they liked, there was a high degree of meticulousness.”
“These are persons that meant no harm to the church,” said Mr Tong.
10.01am: Kong’s lawyer Tong: “In considering the appropriate sentence, bear in mind the finding that this was not a group of accused persons who were cavalier in the way they … they were not callous in the way they saw opportunities and expanded where they liked. even in the context of committing these offences they were meticulous in scrutinising the money … they loved the church and meant no harm to the church whatsoever.”
The judge has replied that “this was not my finding, when you say they were not callous”.
9.56am: “The prosecution has accepted entirely the theological legitimacy of Sun Ho’s career. Therefore there is no doubt that the Crossover Project was an integral aspect of City Harvest Church’s evangelistic efforts … to the extent that it was beyond question,” said Mr Tong.
“In using CHC funds for the Crossover Project … the acused believed they were using church funds for an evangelistic purpose … supported by the vast majority if not the entirely of the congregation.”
9.55am: “The Crossover Project is at the centre of all the offences, and your findings of the Crossover Project, what it meant to the church, I just want to highlight to your honour, Kong Hee shared with City Harvest Church members the idea of using secular music,” said Kong’s lawyer Edwin Tong in his oral submission. “Sun Ho was chosen as the ambassador at that point, not without the knowledge of the church and its members.”
9.49am: The court session has started. Kong Hee’s lawyer Edwin Tong is presenting the oral submissions.
“The sentencing to be meted out must be appropriate, proportionate and fit the particular circumstance of the offence,” said Mr Tong to the judge. “I draw your emphasis to this. No two cases are similar.”
9.34am: All 6 have arrived in the courtroom.
The six leaders of the church – founder and senior pastor Kong Hee; deputy senior pastor Tan Ye Peng; former church board member and Chairman of CHC’s Investment Committee John Lam Leng Hung; former church board and CHC Investment Committee member Chew Eng Han; and former finance managers Sharon Tan and Serina Wee – were each convicted on between three and 10 counts of criminal breach of trust and falsifying church accounts.
Channel NewsAsia understands the prosecution is seeking a sentence of 11 to 12 years’ jail for Kong Hee, eight to nine years’ for John Lam, about 11 to 12 years for both Tan Ye Peng, Chew Eng Han and Serina Wee; and about five to six years for Sharon Tan.
From 1030pm Thursday night, interested members of the public had started queueing to enter the court. At about 7.15am on Friday, passes were given out – 50 for the morning session and 50 for the afternoon session.
Said one of those in line, who is not from City Harvest Church but refused to be named: “I had dreams that during the case, during the early part, I had four dreams of Kong Hee that’s all positive. So did it come from devil or God or conscious or subconscious, so I thought I’d come here to see if it shows up.”
Source: By Published 20/11/2015 07:48, UPDATED: 20 Nov 2015 11:19. (Accessed 20/11/2015.)