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In the latest development in the defamation suit between Messrs Lee Kuan Yew/Lee Hsien Loong and the Singapore Democrats, the plaintiffs’ counsel, Mr Davinder Singh, is disputing some of the proceedings that took place in Judge Belinda Ang’s chambers.
We were worried that this might happen which is why we wanted the proceedings, even the preliminary applications, to be held in open court. Mr Singh, however, opposed the application and the Judge ruled in his favour.
The SDP’s reply below to Mr Singh shows up the lawyer’s tactics.
14 May 2008
Mr Davinder Singh
Drew & Napier
20 Raffles Place #17-00
Suit nos. 261 and 262 of 2006
Your letter dated 13 May 2008 is disingenuous.
You say that our counsel’s statement published in the press that Judge Belinda Ang has agreed that there “will be latitude to cross-examine” your clients is incorrect.
We have it recorded clearly that that was exactly what Judge Ang indicated when Mr Ravi asked her the question which was put before her specifically because we were concerned that the striking out of the defence AEICs would make it impossibly difficult for us to cross-examine the Lees. In response, Ms Ang clearly nodded and replied in the affirmative.
For you now to try to revisit the issue and, worse, attempt to change the record is reprehensible. It is apparent that you are trying to conduct the case outside court and to influence the outcome of the case through your letters. Such conduct from a lawyer, let alone a Senior Counsel, is unprofessional and completely unacceptable.
There are other factual inaccuracies in your letters which we will deal with at the appropriate time. For now, I wish to emphasize that the present dispute is exactly what we wanted to avoid. That was why we applied for the entire proceedings to be conducted in open court where the public and media are witnesses.
Furthermore, in open court exchanges are audio-recorded and can be referred to later on. Such digital recording is not available in chambers. Needles to say, recordings will eradicate the kinds of dispute that you have presently raised.
But you strenuously opposed our application to have arguments heard in open court. You now have the gall to accuse us of misrepresenting the proceedings in court. We see through your tactics which are, quite frankly, below-the-belt.
Let me make myself unalterably clear: The defendants will make another application to Judge Ang to have the 22 May hearing to strike out our AEICs heard in open court where the proceedings can be recorded.
In light of your present letter, this application takes on an even greater urgency. We are prepared to subject all our words and actions to scrutiny in open court, and for all our arguments to be recorded.
If you and your clients have nothing to hide, if you believe that you have sound legal arguments, then you will have no fear in having the entire matter thrashed out in open court and recorded instead of being closeted in the Judge’s chambers, where you can later pick and choose what to dispute.
Please reply to me immediately stating that you will unequivocally support our request to Judge Ang to have the application to strike out our AEICs heard in open court. I do not have to remind you that the public is watching.
Chee Soon Juan