CNA Explains: Why was Iswaran allowed to leave Singapore while his court case is ongoing?

Lawyers told CNA that Iswaran’s bail conditions are similar to what other accused persons would face — and crafted to ensure he does not abscond.

Mr Yeo noted that the additional bail sum of S$500,000 was uncommon by itself, but has to be seen in context.

“For this case, as Iswaran’s bail was originally set at S$800,000, an additional bail of S$500,000 is to be expected,” he added.

“Notably, this bail sum has to be furnished by someone other than the accused, and the money for the said bail cannot come from the accused directly or indirectly, as the accused is not allowed to indemnify his bailor should he abscond.”

Ms Chin pointed out that the quantum of bail imposed typically depends on factors like an accused person’s alleged offences, and how likely it is that they would flee if the bail sum is too low.

Have there been high-profile accused persons who applied to leave Singapore?

In 2010, British author Alan Shandrake said he would apply to leave Singapore after he was sentenced to six weeks’ jail and a S$20,000 fine for contempt of court. At the time, it was the heaviest punishment handed down for scandalising the judiciary.

He eventually decided against it after the Attorney-General’s Chambers objected to the potential application. The court had also mentioned that he might have to post security in the region of S$80,000.

The founding pastor of City Harvest megachurch, Kong Hee, was granted permission to travel overseas in 2012 while facing charges of misusing millions in church funds at the time.

His bail was increased from the original amount of S$500,000 but his defence counsel declined to reveal the new amount, his itinerary and travel dates. Kong has been released from jail since.

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