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AGC file criminal reference with Court of Appeal over City Harvest Church verdict
THE Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) said it has filed a Criminal Reference with the Court of Appeal on Monday to reinstate the original convictions of the six leaders of City Harvest Church (CHC).
The prosecutions also intends to ask the court to make necessary and consequential orders in relation to the sentences given.
"Having carefully considered the written grounds, the prosecution is of the view that there are questions of law of public interest that have arisen out of the High Court's decision, including and in particular, whether a director or a member of the governing body of a company or organisation who is entrusted with property, or with any dominion over property, is so entrusted in the way of his business as an agent for the purposes of section 409 of the Penal Code," the AGC said.
In a split decision by a three-member bench of the High Court on Friday, the sentence of CHC founder and pastor, Kong Hee, was cut to 3 years and 6 months, from eight years previously. The sentences of 5 other CHC leaders were also substantially reduced after the High Court found all 6 guilty of a less serious charge of criminal breach of trust (CBT) under section 406.
The six - Kong, Tan Ye Peng and senior members Chew Eng Han, John Lam Leng Hung, Serina Wee Gek Yin and Sharon Tan Shao Yuen - were found guilty in October 2015 of misusing S$24 million in CHC Building Fund monies for the Crossover Project, aimed at evangelising through singer Sun Ho's secular music. They were also convicted of another set of charges involving the misappropriation of a further S$26 million to cover up the first sum through sham bond investments and to defraud auditors with falsified accounts.
The majority of the High Court ruled that being a director of a company or a society does not render a person to be in the business of an agent within the more serious section 409 of the Penal Code.
Like Kong, the sentences of the other 5 leaders were also reduced:
Chew Eng Han, former City Harvest Church fund manager, will now face 3 years 4 months jail sentence, reduced from six years previously.
Tan Ye Peng, deputy senior pastor, gets 3 years 2 months, reduced from 5 and a half years.
Serina Wee, former CHC finance manager, gets 2 years 6 months, reduced from 5 years .
Sharon Tan, former CHC finance manager, gets 7 months, reduced from 21 months.
John Lam, former CHC finance committee member, gets 1 year 6 months, reduced from 3 years.