Teen blogger, Amos Yee, who was sentenced to four weeks’ jail on Monday, has instructed his lawyers to file an appeal against his sentence.
“Amos, duly advised by his lawyers, is of the view that the conviction is wrong in law and sentence levied against him is manifestly excessive,” said a statement from his lawyers from Dodwell & Co on Monday.
“Amos has instructed us to appeal against his conviction and the sentence.”
“We will be filing the ‘Notice of Appeal’ in due course,” they added.
The lawyers also gave details of the issues and events they had to contend and deal with in handling the high profile case, including having to deal with the issue of his bail, with a member of the public slapping him in vigilante justice, the issue of probation or jail or reformative training (“RTC”) or Mandatory Treatment Order (“MTO”), with Amos having spent in total of 53 days in remand mostly at Changi Prison and the last two weeks at the Institute of Mental Health, Singapore (“IMH”).
“We had to advise him of the processes each and every step of the way,” the legal team, led by Mr Alfred Dodwell, said. “We had to visit him at Changi Prison to discuss matters with him and also to take his instructions during the various periods he was placed in remand.”
They also revealed the circumstances which Amos Yee was under while in remand.
“There was little doubt that Amos was suffering at Changi Prison as he started having suicidal thoughts and also suffered from loss of appetite. He was concerned about the prospect of RTC as this was not envisaged earlier and he felt it was wholly unjust and disproportionate to the offences for which he was convicted. This was compounded by Amos being sent to IMH for a further 2 weeks, making it a total of 5 weeks since 2nd June 2015 of being in some form of remand. As Amos’s lawyers, we were deeply concerned of the strain on his mental state and his physical state in the long period of remand.
“Last evening we were informed that as a result of Amos loss of appetite and his failure to consume his meals properly at IMH, his blood sugar levels and blood pressure was affected and Amos was taken by ambulance to Changi General Hospital. We have learnt that he was treated as an outpatient and he was brought back to IMH. We enquired from Amos as to his physical well-being earlier today as he had visibly lost weight. He said he was feeling better, he had a meal today but was feeling slightly giddy.”
The lawyers said they are “pleased that the ordeal is finally over for Amos.”
The psychiatrist who conducted the court-ordered evaluation of the youth at the Institute of Mental Health, Dr Cai Yimin, is also Emeritus Consultant, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Institute of Mental Health.
Dr Cai had recommended in his report to the courts that Amos Yee would benefit from having a counsellor or mentor to guide him in the “responsible use of the Internet.”
“He also opined that Amos is misguided in not appreciating that ‘freedom of expression is not freedom from consequence’,” the teen’s lawyers said in their statement.
Dr Cai also recommended that Amos Yee should continue with formal education where he would have opportunities to socialise with his peers.
Finally, Dr Cai also felt that family counselling should take place to improve the interaction and relationship among all members of the teenager’s family.
In this regards, Mr Dodwell has since contacted Dr Lim Yun Ching who is currently the Principal Psychiatrist at the Raffles Hospital Counselling Centre. Dr Lim, has over 30 years experience in the field of psychiatry, is also a psychiatrist with the Singapore Prisons and Drug Rahabilitation Centre and a visiting consultant at the IMH.
He has agreed to see Amos Yee and the latter has also assented to the arrangement.