S'porean man, 53, fined S$1,000 for taking down PSP campaign poster during 2020 GE

He will serve four days in jail instead as he is unable to pay the fine.

Syahindah Ishak | January 31, 2023, 05:50 PM

Follow us on Telegram for the latest updates: https://t.me/mothershipsg

Constantine Paul, a 53-year-old Singaporean, was fined S$1,000 on Tuesday, Jan. 31 for taking down a Progress Singapore Party (PSP) campaign poster from a lamppost during the 2020 General Election.

However, Paul was unable to pay the fine, CNA reported. He will instead serve four days in jail.

Paul had pleaded guilty to one count of pulling down a poster under the Parliamentary Elections Act.

Another three charges were taken into consideration in his sentencing.

What happened

According to court documents seen by Mothership, Paul committed the offence on the evening of Jun. 30, 2020.

At around 7:56pm that day, he was riding his bicycle along Bukit Batok East Avenue 5.

As he was riding near a lamppost, he saw two posters — one with the People's Action Party (PAP)'s logo and one with the PSP logo.

Paul pulled down the PSP poster and removed it from the lamp post.

As he was removing the poster, he broke the poster. He then threw the poster and the wooden board on the floor and left the area.

Identity traced through fingerprints lifted from the posters

In the early hours of Jul. 1, 2020, a police officer on patrol came across the damaged poster.

Investigations later revealed that there were two damaged posters in the area that were near each other.

The posters were subsequently sent for forensic examination.

Seven latent fingerprints lifted from the posters were later found to have matched Paul's fingerprints. His identity was traced and he was arrested within the same day.

His sentencing

The prosecution urged the Court to impose the maximum fine of S$1,000 on Paul.

According to the prosecution, this will "give full weight to the politically distortive effects of [Paul's] offence" and send a "resounding signal" to Paul and any like-minded individuals that any political dissatisfaction "should be aired respectfully and through legal channels".

Paul's lawyer, however, argued that the offence was not politically motivated, as reported by CNA.

She added that Paul allegedly saw another person hurling vulgarities while pointing at the PAP poster. In a "spontaneous fit of anger", Paul then reacted by committing the offence.

The prosecution said that there was no evidence that Paul spoke to anyone when the offence was committed. However, the prosecution accepted that his actions were not politically motivated.

Paul's lawyer agreed with the S$1,000 fine, but asked for a lower in-default jail term of four days as Paul cannot pay the fine.

According to CNA, Paul is receiving financial assistance from the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF).

He also suffers from physical and psychiatric conditions.

Related story

Top images via Tan Cheng Bock's Facebook page.