Everything About the City Harvest Case That is in the Spotlight Again

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I am sure by now most of you would have been aware of the biggest event that happened last night.

Image: The Straits Times

Yes, the City Harvest case is back again, and here’s what you should know:

Recap

In 2015, six church leaders of City Harvest Church were convicted of using S$24 million from the church building fund to help its founder’s wife, Sun Ho, enter the English market as a singer.

The six leaders include Kong Hee (founder of church), Tan Ye Ping (deputy senior pastor), Serina Wee (former finance manager), John Lam ( former finance committee member), Sharon Tan (former finance manager) and Chew Eng Han ( former fund manager).

They also used another S$26 million from the church to cover their complex web of lies.

Kong was sentenced to eight years while the other five received jail terms ranging from 21 months to six years.

In 2017, the church leaders’ sentences were reduced on a technicality by the High Court, with the Kong’s jail term cut to three-and-a-half years.

Latest update

Just yesterday (1 Feb), the decision by the Court of Appeal was centred towards whether or not the six leaders should have been convicted of simple criminal breach of trust (CBT) or more seriously as agents.

The court rules that the term “agent” in Section 409 of the Penal Code can only apply to one who is a professional agent, and not for company directors and key officers of charities.

The six leaders fall into the latter category.

The judges understood the “strong and urgent impulse” to ensure that those in positions of responsibility are made to go through a sentence that is proportionate to the full extent of their harm and culpability.

However, they also stated that the courts are not fitted to handle a “long overdue” and wide wide-ranging policy review, according to The Straits Times.

The decision was reached by Judge of Appeal Andrew Phang, Judge of Appeal Judith Prakash, and Justices Belinda Ang, Quentin Loh and Chua Lee Ming.

Justice Phang said that the Parliament will be responsible for filling in any gap in the law.

“A hard case should not be allowed to make bad law.”

He also added that the leaders will not be “getting away unpunished” and will face substantial jail terms.


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The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) said that it will work with relevant government ministries “on the appropriate revisions to the Penal Code, to ensure that company directors and other persons in similar positions of trust and responsibility are subject to appropriate punishments if they commit criminal breach of trust”.

Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam addressed the issue in a Facebook post.

[ City Harvest Church ]The Court of Appeal has ruled on the City Harvest Church matter. Attorney-General's Chambers…

Posted by K Shanmugam Sc on Wednesday, 31 January 2018

The court’s decision ruled that Kong Hee, Tan Ye Peng, Serina Wee and John Lam will continue serving their reduced jail terms of between 1.5 to 3.5 years.

They have already begun serving since April 2017.

Sharon Tan has already completed her seven-month jail term while Chew Eng Han has gotten a new deferment for his jail term of 3 years and 4 months after Chinese New Year.


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Among the six leaders, Kong received the longest jail term.

It was reduced from eight years after the High Court cleared them of CBT as agents and convicted them of plain CBT under Section 406 of the Penal Code.

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This article was first published on goodyfeed.com


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Featured image: The Straits Times


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