Possible reasons why notebook constituted evidence for offence

I refer to the 19 Oct 2014 Straits Times report “Police have the right to hold notebook”.

The police explained that Section 35(1)(c) of the Criminal Procedure Code empowers the police with the right to seize any item suspected to constitute evidence of an offence.

That means the police must have suspected that Han Hui Hui’s notebook contained evidence of her purported ‘crime’. Wonder what that suspected evidence might have been.

Maybe the police thought Hui Hui wrote “I am guilty, I committed the crime, I confess” in her notebook. That would have constituted a confession and hence evidence of her ‘crime’. The police may have thought that Hui Hui was too shy to confess upfront so she wrote her confession in her notebook which must therefore be confiscated.

Or maybe the police thought the notebook was a scrapbook full of incriminating picture evidences that Hui Hui had compiled and brought to the police station but fell just short of giving to them.

Or maybe the police thought the notebook contained a treasure map that led to a treasure trove of evidences Hui Hui had nicely stashed away for them.

The police couldn’t have thought that the notebook merely contained notes of the interview because the police have their own notes and also the video recording of the entire interview session.

Whatever is the reason, the police must have truly believed that the evidence could be found in Hui Hui’s notebook so they had to keep it in order to flip through it again and again to find it. They couldn’t simply photocopy it as they could have also suspected that Hui Hui used invisible ink to make their job a little bit more challenging and worthwhile.

Maybe the police thought Hui Hui used the notebook to slash or to hit children so they had to do a DNA analysis of the book to verify the victim’s DNA in order to nail Hui Hui’s crime.

Police work can be so interesting it almost feels like child’s play.

Straits Times, Police ‘have the right to hold notebook’, 19 Oct 2014

POLICE yesterday returned to blogger Han Hui Hui her notebook and said they were acting within their powers in retaining it as part of an investigation.

The notebook was taken from Ms Han, 22, last Friday when she was questioned over a Sept 27 protest in Hong Lim Park that disrupted a YMCA charity carnival.

Both events were held at the same venue but in different areas of the park.

Responding to a query from The Straits Times, a police spokesman said that under Section 35(1)(c) of the Criminal Procedure Code, the police had a right to seize any item “suspected to constitute evidence of an offence”.

But the notebook was given back to Ms Han, as the police no longer needed it for investigations, the spokesman added.

Earlier, Ms Han’s lawyer, Mr M. Ravi, had said in a statement e-mailed to the media that the police had overstepped their powers. He had sent a letter of demand to the police on Tuesday, saying the notebook was private property and should not have been seized.

It contains notes Ms Han took when she was being questioned by the police, which Mr Ravi said were considered “privileged legal communication”.

But this was refuted by the police in a letter to Mr Ravi, who released it to the media.

The police wrote: “Your client’s notebook is not a document covered by legal professional privilege. Notwithstanding this, the police (are) of the view that it will not be necessary to retain the notebook any further for investigation.”

Ms Han, and several others, have been questioned over their involvement in the fracas at Hong Lim Park.

She was the organiser of the protest, and had led a few hundred people in a march around the park, encroaching on the lawn where the charity carnival was held and frightening some children with special needs who were performing on stage.

It is understood that the police tried to contact the protest’s co-leader, Mr Roy Ngerng, last week but he was not in Singapore.

On Wednesday this week, he said in a Facebook post that he was in Malaysia attending a conference.

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