Chees To Lees: Don’t try to avoid trial

May 11, 2006
Singapore Democrats

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Ms Chee Siok Chin and I have filed our defence vis-à-vis the lawsuit brought against us by Mr Lee Kuan Yew and Mr Lee Hsien Loong. We are ready to face the Lees in court.

Our counsel, Mr M Ravi, has also indicated repeatedly during the SDP’s election rallies that he looks forward to arguing the case and taking on the Lees and their Senior Counsel, Mr Davinder Singh. He also expresses that the matter not be delayed unnecessarily.

The only worry is that the plaintiffs will try to prevent the matter from going to trial and avoid being cross-examined. This can be done through frivolous court applications to try to bog the process down and drain the defendants financially. Another possibility is that the Lees may use legal technicalities to overcome the defendants’ actions thereby preventing the matter from going to open trial.

Whatever it may be, we call on the Lees to ensure that the matter be handled expeditiously so that the trial will be convened at the earliest possible date.

Chee Soon Juan

Secretary-General

Singapore Democratis Party

The Defence for Mr Lee Kuan Yew is reproduced below. It is similar to the one for Mr Lee Hsian Loong.

IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SINGAPORE

S262/2006/Q

Between

LEE KUAN YEW… Plaintiff(s)

And

1. THE SINGAPORE DEMOCRATIC PARTY

2. CHEE SIOK CHIN

3 CHEE SOON JUAN

4. LING HOW DOONG NRIC

5. MOHAMED ISA ABDUL AZIZ

6.CHRISTOPHER NEO TING WEI

7. SNG CHOON GUAN GERALD

8. WONG HONG TOY

9. YONG CHU LEONG FRANCIS…Defendant(s)

DEFENCE OF THE 2ND & 3RD DEFENDANTS

1 The 2nd and 3rd Defendants deny the allegations of fact in the following paragraphs of the Statement of Claim: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 25, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 39, 40, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48 and 49.

2 The 2nd and 3rd Defendants do not admit the allegations of fact in the following paragraphs of the Statement of Claim: 2, 6, 7, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 28, 37, 38, 41, 42 and 43.

3 The 2nd and 3rd Defendants admit the allegations of fact in the following paragraphs of the Statement of Claim: 1, 3, 4, 5, and 27.

4 Paragraph 8 of the Statement of Claim is a pleading of law.

5 The 2nd and 3rd Defendants deny that the matters complained of and referred to in paragraphs 18 and 21 of the Statement of Claim bear or were understood to bear or were capable of bearing the meanings pleaded in paragraphs 26 and 27.

6 Further, the 2nd and 3rd Defendants deny that the matters and the said meanings are capable of being or are in fact defamatory of the Plaintiff as alleged.

7 Alternatively, insofar as and to the extent that it may be found that the matters were published by the 2nd and 3rd Defendants (which is denied) of and concerning the Plaintiff (which is denied) and to be defamatory of him (which is denied), then the said matters:-

(a) were substantially substantially true and related to matters of public interest;

(b) were published under qualified privilege;

(c) amounted to fair comments relating to matters of public interest and based on proper material for comment.

8 Further in the alternative, insofar as and to the extent that it may be found that the matters were published by the 2nd and 3rd Defendants (which is denied) of and concerning the Plaintiff (which is denied) and to be defamatory of him (which is denied), then the meanings conveyed by the matters:-

(a) were substantially true and related to matters of public interest;

(b) were substantially true and published under qualified privilege;

(c) were published contextually to each other, and by reason of the substantial truth of each imputation found to be justified, any imputation found not to be justified did not further injure the reputation of the Plaintiff.

Particulars of Public Interest:

(i) The governance of the State of Singapore;

(ii) The performance of the PAP as the governing party in the parliament of Singapore;

(iii) The performance of the Plaintiff as Prime Minister of Singapore;

(iv) The NKF scandal;

(v) The use by PAP politicians of defamation litigation against political opponents;

(vi) Free speech;

(vii) Issue of whether there is corruption or perception of it in boards and corporations of the Singapore government;

(viii) Administration of public institutions or organisations subject to the control and/or supervision of the Singapore government;

(ix) Administration of the GIC;

(x) The public’s right to information concerning the investments of the GIC;

(xi) The financial affairs of the CPF;

(xii) The performance of the mass media in Singapore.

Basis for comment :

(i) The 2nd and 3rd Defendants rely on the facts stated in the matters complained of;

(ii) The 2nd and 3rd Defendants further rely on matters of notoriety concerning the subjects of public interest particularised above.

Particulars of qualified privilege:

The matters were published on occasions of qualified privilege by reason of the  following facts and matters:

(i) The matters of public interest set out above;

(ii) Those to whom the matters were published had or ought to have had an interest in receiving information on the subjects of public interest;

(iii) The 2nd and 3rd Defendants, as participants in the electoral process as members of the SDP had a duty or interest to inform the community of the SDP’s position on the matters referred to at (b) above.

Particulars of mitigation:

The 2nd and 3rd Defendants intend to rely at trial on the following facts and matters:-

(i) The circumstances in which the Plaintiff proves the publication took place;

(ii) The reputation of the Plaintiff.

9 Save as is hereinbefore expressly admitted the 2nd and 3rd Defendants deny each and every allegation contained in the Statement of Claim as if the same were set out seriatim and specifically traversed.

Dated this day of May 2006

_____________________________

Messrs M.Ravi & Co

Solicitors for the 2nd and 3rd Defendants

To : The Solicitors for the Plaintiff
Messrs Drew & Napier LLC

20 Raffles Place

#17-00 Ocean Towers
Singapore 048620

Tel: 65350733

Fax: 65327149
Ref: DS/AT 198477