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High Court Judge M P H Rubin has dismissed Dr Chee Soon Juans appeal against Senior Assistant Registrar Toh Han Lis earlier decision to award Messrs Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong summary judgment.
This means that Dr Chee cannot even take his case to open trial to call witnesses to testify on his behalf and to cross-examine the plaintiffs. The SDP secretary-general had to argue the appeal himself after the Courts denied his applications for QCs.
During the hearing on 7 February 2003, Dr Chee submitted to Justice Rubin: Clearly, Mr Toh Han Li had over-stepped his boundaries and acted like a trial judge when he clearly had no authority to do so. He was actually trying the case and dismissed it without my calling a word of evidence.
He further told Judge Rubin: I have been denied legal representation, dont deny me of a full and open trial now. I only want the chance to defend myself. If you enter judgment against me, you would have denied me the justice that I am seeking.
Dr Chee is not the first to be sued for crippling sums of money. Messrs Tang Liang Hong and J B Jeyaretnam were also sued by Lee Kuan Yew and other PAP leaders in previous cases. When they failed to pay the millions of dollars in costs and damages, they were declared bankrupt by the Courts and barred from standing for elections. Mr Tang now lives in exile in Australia and Mr Jeyaretnam is desperately trying to raise enough money to pay off his creditors so that he can stand for the next elections.
Dr Chee can make a final appeal to the Court of Appeals. He will have to pay a $10,000 security-cost in order to do so. He said, I may not be able to appeal as I dont have the money for the security-cost.