Dr Chee Soon Juan attempted to file his affidavit at the Registry of the Supreme Court today but was prevented from doing so by court officials. The reason the Registry gave was that the affidavits had to be separated into two documents, one for the suit by Mr Lee Kuan Yew and the other for the suit by Mr Goh Chok Tong, even though the contents were exactly the same.
The matter involves Dr Chees attempt to recall the two former prime ministers to the stand for the hearing for assessment of damages, which was conducted on 6 September 2004 in his absence. Judge Kan Ting Chiu had directed Dr Chee to file an affidavit by 13 October 2004 to support his application to reconvene the hearing.
When Dr Chee appeared at the Registry to file his affidavit on 13 October, a clerk who had obviously been primed about the matter took the document and told Dr Chee that she was referring it to the Registrar to check the format.
After waiting for some time, Dr Chee then told Registry officials that this was highly irregular and said that if the Registry did not come back to him shortly, he would leave. After being made to wait longer, the SDP secretary-general left the building whereupon an assistant registrar came running and informed Dr Chee that the courts treated the two suits separately and as such two separate sets of court fees would have to be paid.
Dr Chee argued that the contents for the Lee-suit and Goh-suit are one and the same. The matter was to recall both Mr Lee and Mr Goh who appeared in court on the same day. Filing two separate affidavits for the same matter served no purpose other than to increase the cost for Dr Chee and to fatten the revenue of the courts even more.
The most important aspect to this nonsense, however, is that Dr Chee had in the past filed affidavits and other court documents where the two matters involving Mr Lee and Mr Goh were combined into one document and the Registry collected only one set of fees. Why the sudden insistence that the two be separated?
Dr Chee has questioned the courts handling of the lawsuits and this latest incident is yet another example of how arbitrary the system can be when it comes to this matter involving the two former prime ministers.