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The Straits Times
January 31, 2023
A man who removed an election poster put up by the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) in 2020 was caught after his fingerprints were found on it.
Constantine Paul, 53, was given the maximum fine of $1,000 on Tuesday for committing the offence under the Parliamentary Elections Act.
The prosecution said that Constantine was riding his bicycle along Bukit Batok East Avenue 5 at around 8pm on June 30, 2020, when he spotted the PSP poster on a lamp post.
Each poster cost $18.73.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Selene Yap told the court: “He dismounted from his bicycle and pulled down the PSP poster.
“As he was removing the poster, he broke the poster. He then threw the poster... on the (ground) and left the incident location.”
A police officer patrolling the area at around 1.50am on July 1, 2020, saw the damaged poster.
A forensic examination found Constantine’s fingerprints on it.
The police arrested him on July 1, 2020, after viewing closed-circuit television footage taken in the vicinity.
On Tuesday, DPP Yap urged the court to hand Constantine the maximum fine of $1,000.
She said: “Election posters play an important role in election campaigns. They visually acquaint constituents with the candidates and the political parties seeking their mandate.
“When situated within the wider democratic context, the accused’s act of removing an election poster must be understood as engendering harm beyond the monetary cost of replacement. It additionally negated important representational functions of election posters.”
In February 2021, a 48-year-old man was also given the maximum $1,000 fine for damaging a People’s Action Party election poster in 2020.
In the first case of its kind, Lim Song Huat had admitted that he committed the offence on July 3, 2020, one week before the general election on July 10 that year.
For breaking the law under the Parliamentary Elections Act, an offender can be jailed for up to a year or fined up to $1,000.