In September 2004 the courts conducted a hearing to assess the amount of damages Dr Chee Soon Juan had to pay to Mr Lee Kuan Yew and Mr Goh Chok Tong in a defamation suit. That hearing was held while Dr Chee was not in Singapore.
When the SDP secretary-general found out about the date, he wrote to request for the hearing to be postponed for a couple of weeks until after he returned to Singapore.
Messrs Lee and Goh objected. Their lawyer Mr Davinder Singh said at that time: “Dr Chee is really not asking for an adjournment…This is not the conduct of a man who genuinely wants to appear for the hearing. He has no intention of coming, now or later.”
With that the courts went ahead with the hearing in Dr Chee’s absence. The hearing was in open court during which the two former prime ministers courageously took to the witness box to be cross-examined.
Unfortunately, there was no one there to cross-examine them.
Dr Chee applied for the hearing to be reconvened when he returned but the application was dismissed by High Court Judge Kan Ting Chiu.
Fast forward to 2008.
In the on-going lawsuit of the Lees versus the SDP, Ms Chee Siok Chin and Dr Chee, the hearing for assessment of damages will be held on 12 May 08. Like the previous lawsuit, this one ended with the courts awarding summary judgment, in chambers and without defense counsel present to boot, to the plaintiffs.
This means that Dr Chee has never had the pleasure of confronting his accuser, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, in court.
Both father and son team had sued the SDP and its executive members over an article published in The New Democrat comparing the running of the NKF by Mr T T Durai to the PAP system.
Unlike the previous hearing, Dr Chee is present this time and looking forward to questioning both the Prime Minister and his Mentor. Let’s see if the Lees come up with some excuse to avoid being cross-examined – in open court.
16 April 2008
Re: Suit Nos. 261 of 2006/L and 262 of 2006/Q
The hearing for assessment of damages for the above suits has been fixed for 12 May 2008. Please let me know which Judge will be presiding over the hearing and in which courtroom it will be held.
I request the information so that members of the public as well as trial observers who may wish to attend the hearing can be kept updated.
Chee Soon Juan