Justice Audrey Lim on Monday (30 November) disallowed lawyer Lim Tean’s query to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on disclosing correspondences inside the Lee household concerning to the 38 Oxley Street property on the primary day of the PM’s defamation swimsuit towards TOC’s editor chief Terry Xu.
The swimsuit issues an article revealed on TOC on 15 August final yr titled “PM Lee’s spouse, Ho Ching weirdly shares article on chopping ties with members of the family”.
The article contained alleged defamatory statements made by PM Lee’s siblings Mr Lee Hsien Yang (LHY) and Dr Lee Wei Ling (LWL) in relation to the 38 Oxley Street dispute.
In his cross-examination of PM Lee on the witness stand, Mr Lim, who represents Mr Xu, stated to PM Lee that the prime minister “didn’t disclose a single correspondence inside the household that touched with regards to 38 Oxley Street or gazetting which is the problem at coronary heart on this case”.
PM Lee’s lawyer, Senior Counsel Davinder Singh of Davinder Singh Chambers LLC, interjected by saying that the appliance for particular discovery was already made by Mr Xu, which had already been dismissed by Justice Lim earlier.
This then prompted Justice Lim to ask Mr Lim to rephrase his query to make his level clearer.
Mr Lim then requested: “Mr Lee, you’ll agree with me that on this case you haven’t disclosed many related paperwork pertaining to the problem at hand?”
PM Lee then responded and stated he disagreed with Mr Lim’s assertion, stating that he has “rendered up every little thing” that’s required and which the court docket has discovered related.
When Mr Lim pressed PM Lee to reply in regards to the software for discovery, Justice Lim objected and stated that she thinks this isn’t a request query that must be answered by PM Lee.
“I cannot enable this line of questioning, okay? Mr Singh’s factors are legitimate. Should you discover that paperwork ought to have been related for disclosure, your consumer makes the suitable software on the time earlier than the trial, after which it’s for the court docket to resolve whether or not or not they’re related and materials to the case. So please transfer on to the problems at hand within the trial,” she stated.
She added: “The paperwork are all already right here. Don’t revisit the problem of discovery. It’s not related”.
In March this yr, the High Court dismissed an application made by Mr Xu to obtain certain documents from PM Lee in relation to the defamation suit filed by the PM against him, following a closed-door listening to in chambers.
Mr Xu told The Straits Instances that he had sought to accumulate paperwork on PM Lee’s correspondence along with his household, in addition to minutes of a Cupboard assembly, in a pre-trial course of to acquire proof.
Situations of communication between PM Lee and his household that Mr Xu had sought had been:
- Correspondence from Mr LKY to PM Lee on the removing of the latter as an executor of his will;
- Correspondence between PM Lee and his siblings Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee Wei Ling concerning the household house, dated 20 Jul 2011 to 31 Oct 2012; and
- Correspondence between PM Lee and Mr LKY on the household house, dated 20 Jul 2011 to 31 Oct 2012.
Background of PM Lee Hsien Loong’s defamation swimsuit towards TOC chief editor Terry Xu
In September final yr, PM Lee requested TOC to take away the article in addition to a Fb submit linking to it, and publish a full and unconditional apology.
It was stated that the article contained alleged defamatory statements made by PM Lee’s siblings in relation to the 38 Oxley Street dispute.
On the coronary heart of the 38 Oxley Street dispute is the home owned by the Lee siblings’ late father and Singapore’s founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew and the elder Lee’s want to have the home demolished as an alternative of being became a museum or authorities relic.
Mr LHY and Dr LWL are joint executors and trustees of Mr LKY’s property.
In a joint assertion launched on 14 June 2017, which was shared on their Fb pages, PM Lee’s two youthful siblings claimed, amongst a number of different allegations, that PM Lee and his spouse Ho Ching had defied Mr LKY’s want to demolish the home.
In addition they alleged that PM Lee and Mdm Ho had been liable for instilling and perpetuating the Authorities’s stance to protect the home at 38 Oxley Street, together with PM Lee’s purported transfer to show that Mr LKY had modified his thoughts on having the home demolished.
Mr LHY and Dr LWL additionally claimed that PM Lee had engaged in abuse of energy as Prime Minister to acquire a duplicate of the Deed of Reward from then-Minister of Nationwide Growth Lawrence Wong, which was then handed to his private lawyer Lucien Wong on the time for his personal function.
The youthful Lee siblings additionally alleged that Mdm Ho wielded vital affect within the Authorities regardless of not being a public official.
PM Lee issued an announcement the identical day to counter the allegations. Regardless of that, Mr LHY and Dr LWL continued to make claims towards PM Lee in subsequent Fb posts.
Following that, PM Lee introduced in June the identical yr his plans to ship a ministerial assertion in Parliament the following month to deal with the allegations made by his siblings.
The prime minister delivered his ministerial assertion on 3 July 2017, through which he branded the allegations as baseless.
PM Lee additionally stated that he wouldn’t be suing Mr LHY and Dr LWL as doing so would additional besmirch their dad and mom’ identify.
The following day, PM Lee delivered one other ministerial assertion, through which he stated that he wouldn’t name for a Choose Committee or a Fee of Inquiry to be convened into the 38 Oxley Street dispute and his siblings’ allegations.
Mr LHY and Dr LWL on 4 July — the identical day PM Lee made his second ministerial assertion on the matter — in a joint assertion alleged that PM Lee had improperly misrepresented to LKY that the gazetting of 38 Oxley Street was both “inevitable” or that the home was already gazetted.
Two days afterward 6 July, Mr LHY and Dr LWL collectively acknowledged that they might not submit any additional proof on the allegations if PM Lee and the Authorities don’t intervene with Mr LKY’s want — in addition to their very own — to have the home demolished.
PM Lee responded the identical day by saying that he couldn’t concede to his siblings’ demand to withdraw plans to ship his ministerial assertion and to carry the controversy in Parliament, in addition to disbanding the Ministerial Committee and never responding to their accusations.
Mr LHY and Dr LWL henceforth continued to make posts on issues regarding 38 Oxley Street.
Nevertheless, PM Lee determined to file a defamation swimsuit towards Mr Xu for publishing the article that contained the allegedly defamatory statements made by Mr LHY and Dr LWL in relation to the 38 Oxley Street dispute.
Previous to that, PM Lee’s press secretary Chang Li Lin wrote to Mr Xu, asking the latter to take away the “libellous” article and to publish a “full and unconditional” apology.
PM Lee later started authorized proceedings towards Mr Xu after the latter had refused the calls for made in Ms Chang’s letter.
The trial continues tomorrow on Tuesday (1 December).