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Remember High Court Judge Belinda Ang? Yes, the same judge who awarded summary judgments to Mr Lee Kuan Yew and Mr Lee Hsien Loong in their defamation suits against the SDP.
The same judge who refused to give the defendants a two-week adjournment because counsel Mr M Ravi was ill and whose physician later testified that the lawyer was indeed unwell.
The same judge, who despite vehement objections from Ms Chee Siok Chin and Dr Chee Soon Juan, insisted on hearing the Lees’ summary judgment application without Mr Ravi present.
The same judge who heard the case in her chambers with just Mr Davinder Singh, the Lees’ lawyer, present during which she made some rather unjudicial remarks about the defendants.
Surprise, surprise. The courts have assigned that same judge to preside over the case again, this time for the hearing for the assessment of damages fixed for 12-14 May 08.
Is the Supreme Court experiencing amnesia making it unable to remember the controversy surrounding Ms Belinda Ang and the SDP? It seems intent on making a mockery of the old legal dictum that justice must not only be done, but must also manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done.
In any event the Lees insist that the defendants’ testimony, including that of former solicitor-general Francis Seow’s, be struck out because that they are “scandalous and irrelevant.”
Dr Chee has said the the Lees’ reputations are not worth what the plaintiffs claim they are because they have been forced upon society through a controlled media, engineered elections, and imposition of fear in Singaporeans.
Such tactics have resulted in a society too fearful of criticising Mr Lee Kuan Yew who is then free to force his self-praise onto society. Given a free and democratic society, Mr Lee’s reputation would not be anywhere near what he claims. (Read the SDP’s affidavit in full here.)
Mr Francis Seow swore in his supporting affidavit that if he, as a former top legal officer in the Ag’s Chambers, can be detained without trial and threatened by ISD officers to not join the opposition, “how much more can it intimidate the ordinary citizen.”
Given such a political state, Mr Seow added, “there can only be praise of the plaintiffs.” The plaintiffs’ reputations are based on their own opinions and those of their minions. (Read Mr Seow’s affidavit in full here.)
The SDP contends that the only way to obtain an accurate and balanced assessment of the Lees’ reputations is to seek the views of persons/groups not under the control of the PAP Government.
Both father and son have applied to strike out the SDP’s and Mr Francis Seow’s affidavits. The hearing will take place on the morning of 12 May before the assessment hearing begins.
The Lees have also applied for summary judgment in their lawsuit against the Far Eastern Economic Review. The case is fixed for 15 May before Judge Woo Bih Li immediately following the SDP’s hearing.
Unlike the SDP’s summary judgment, however, the FEER’s hearing will be held in open court. Why the difference? Perhaps, the Lees don’t want to face the Chees in open court to be cross-examined.
But the Lees will not run away on 12 May like they did before…will they?