The verdict is in. 16-year-old blogger and YouTuber Amos Yee has been found guilty of both charges he faced — circulating an obscene image online and hurting religious feelings of Christians. The third charge he faced in relation to harassment has been dropped by the prosecution.
Three charges had been brought against Yee in March for making offensive remarks against Christianity in an anti-Lee Kuan Yew rant (he alleges both Lee and Jesus Christ as “deceiving” as well as “power-hungry and malicious”) uploaded on his YouTube channel, which went viral across the internet days before the late statesman’s State Funeral procession.
Yee was also charged for spreading obscene imagery on his blog, which involves graphic caricatures of Lee and late British prime minister Margaret Thatcher.
A third charge under the Protection of Harassment Act for making remarks against Lee that was deemed distressing to viewers was later stood down.
In the days that followed the infamous video, several police reports were lodged against him and he was later arrested. More drama unfolded as he flouted his bail conditions when he called for a fundraising campaign to assist him, leaving the teen to spend several days in remand at Changi Prison when his parents refuse to post bail for him.
Days later, three lawyers stepped up to offer their services pro bono, and a family counsellor by the name of Vincent Law posted bail for Yee.
Yee however flouted his bail conditions again by posting twice on his blog, alleging that his father had been physically abusing him as well as another post questioning the terms of his bail.
While walking to the State Court for a pre-trial hearing, the boy was slapped hard by an unknown man in front of all the cameras to see before he ran off. The man was arrested and was revealed to be 49-year-old businessman Neo Gim Huah, who said he carried out the assault as he was outraged that Yee breached his bail conditions.
He deliberately slapped the teen in front of the cameras to show the world that he was being taught a lesson. Neo has since been sentenced to three weeks in prison for voluntarily causing hurt.
After Law discharged himself as bailor, Yee returned to Changi Prison in remand, and only returned to court last Thursday and Friday for the hearing. The teen pleaded not guilty and even refused a deal that would lighten his bail if he continued to see a psychiatrist.
In court today, the prosecution have asked that Yee be sentenced to probation, while the defence initially remarked that the teen should be punished with a fine as he had already spent 18 days in remand. Currently, the defence stated that they would comply to a probation term.
District Judge Jasvinder Kaur has granted the boy a bail of $10,000 (which his parents are posting) and awaits a probation report, while sentencing has since been adjourned to Jun 2. Yee has been allowed to post online, but will be required by law to take down the offensive post and video in subject.
Yee could face up to three years in jail as well as a fine.
Photo: YouTube screengrab