Letter addressed to Jasvender Kaur, judge in charge of Amos Yee’s case

Amos Yee is not enjoying his time in remand.

Of course, no one would expect to be living on the lap of luxury in what is essentially jail, but you know shit’s getting serious when he’s having suicidal thoughts.

According to Amos’s lawyers at Dodwell & Co, Amos’s treatment throughout the trial and sentencing has been disproportionate for a 16-year-old (they make several references to his age throughout the letter), leading to him having suicidal thoughts.

In a letter released today (12 June) addressed to District Judge Jasvender Kaur, they allege numerous events which may shock you.

The full letter can be viewed here, but we’ve picked out some important points below:

1. Amos is being punished for more than just his video and image without any chance for a hearing

Amos’s subsequent postings on his blog and social media after 12 May were used as evidence in the trial when prosecutors submitted affidavits of his IO Jason Chua (the guy Amos hates so much!). Dodwell & Co believes that this is unfair as they argue that the subsequent postings were not related to his past offences of making a video insulting Christians and uploading an obscene picture of LKY and Margaret Thatcher.

Dodwell & Co believe that the judge had been influenced by this “irrelevant and highly prejucidal” evidence the prosecutors brought forward in court, and hence his sentencing was changed and he was placed in remand for a further three weeks.

They also question why the prosecutors were allowed to submit this evidence in the first place.

2. Amos should not be placed in RTC

Based on evidence that Dodwell & Co collected in a 2007 hearing, RTC is meant for violent teenagers and repeated offences of violence. Note the word “repeated” and “violence”.

To the lawyers, his crimes do not merit this sentencing. He is also not in any need of “reformation”, they claim.

3. Amos was not given important documents related to the trial while remanded

This happened on 5 May, when Amos’s lawyers visited him in prison. They had wanted to pass him some documents which were important for the trial, but these documents never reached Amos.

The lawyers believe that Amos had been treated unfairly and unjustly as a result.

4. Amos was strapped to a bed for a day and a half because he told psychiatrists that he had suicidal thoughts

According to Amos when he talked to his lawyers on 10 June, he’d begun to have suicidal thoughts as early as 30 April, when the prospect of him going to jail loomed. They subsided when the trial appeared to be concluded quickly, but when he was sent to be in remand on 2 June, he became depressed.

When he told prison psychiatrists that he was having suicidal thoughts on 4 June, he ended up being strapped to a bed for a day and a half, presumably to prevent him from committing suicide physically. This aggravated his suicidal thoughts instead of curing his depression.

The looming threat of RTC isn’t helping his thoughts, of course.

5. Threats against Amos have gone largely unpunished while he was sent to remand three times

The lawyers cited him as being a victim of hate crime and misguided vigilante justice in the form of a slap in front of the Subordinate Court. He’s also been the target of public bashing and threats made against him, which the authorities have not done anything about.

6. Lawyers want his hearing to be brought forward

Dodwell & Co have proposed that Amos be sentenced as soon as possible instead of continuing to be in remand. This is in light of the circumstances surrounding Amos since his days in remand, and any further time spent incarcerated would only make his mental condition worse.

The boy is just 16

This fact should have been apparent from the start, when he was arrested, but it appears that the prosecutors and authorities have deemed him mature enough to be tried as an adult.

Now, due to his behaviour — which many have deemed unacceptable, simply because he is not the typical meek teenager who does whatever is asked of him — he has spent several days in remand and may be sentenced to RTC. This just reeks of extremism, no matter one’s thoughts about the kid.

You have to wonder what exactly is so threatening about this kid. Annoying and immature he may be, even accusing his ex-bailor of molest, but he was never violent. On the other hand, people have made violent threats, and someone even slapped him.

Oh, and don’t forget he’s just 16. We were all immature at 16, not completely sure of what we were doing. Many have done worse than Amos and recovered to become upstanding members of society. Amos can easily do the same, but not in the heavy-handed manner with which he’s been treated. The more you hold down such a person, the more he will rebel.

Something to consider when Amos appears for his next hearing.

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Featured image via Dodwell & Co/Amos Yee
With references from Dodwell & Co