Mr Lee Kuan Yew may be the most successful litigant in the world, but little is known that he is also the most successful litigant to avoid cross-examination.
In his lawsuit against Dr Chee, the courts awarded him summary judgment which meant that there would be no trial and therefore the MM would not have to take the stand to be cross-examined.
In the recent hearing where Dr Chee applied for the hearing to be reconvened, the MM insisted that Dr Chee had to be cross-examined. The courts agreed and ordered Dr Chee to take the stand.
But when Dr Chee applied for Mr Lee to be cross-examined over the same matter, the courts refused to allow it. Why? Because Mr Lee had gotten a Mr Ronnie Lim, a clerk at Drew & Napier, to file an affidavit on his behalf. Under the rules, a person can only be cross-examined on his affidavit. Clever, huh?
Dr Chees case is not the only incident. When Mr Lee sued Mr J B Jeyaretnam and Mr Tang Liang Hong in 1997, the MM was the first witness to be cross-examined remember Mr Lee was the one that led the other ten PAP leaders to sue Mr Jeyaretnam and Mr Tang. When the day of the trial came, the then-SM was nowhere to be seen. He had suddenly become the last witness instead of the first, pushing Mr Goh Chok Tong up to the front.
A Canadian judge, who was present to observe the trial, reported: The senior minister’s suit was scheduled to be heard first. However, when Mr Carman (the British “silk”) was permitted to represent Jeyaretnam, Lee’s case was inexplicably placed last on the list. I asked the Registrar of the Supreme Court why this had occurred, but I received no explanation. Carman raised the issue in court, but Judge Rajendran answered by explaining that he had no jurisdiction to entertain a motion to place the senior minister case before Jeyaretnam’s to accommodate Mr Carman. Since the same judge would be hearing each case, I was at a loss to understand the judge’s response.
Mr Lee wasnt even the second witness. Mr George Carman had unsuccessfully asked the courts to have Mr Lee’s case to be heard second, instead of last. The QC added that he could not understand why the order of the eight cases was changed “without any rational explanation to anybody” and on such short notice.
This hasnt stopped the MM from declaring: I am prepared to go before a court, stand in the witness box, and face the most aggressive of lawyers who can cross-examine me on my personal history.
Yes, we all believe you, Mr Lee