Blogger Roy Ngerng given until Monday to pay costs for defamation suit

Blogger Roy Ngerng speaking in Hong Lim Park on May 1, 2014. Mr Ngerng has been given until noon next Monday to pay costs to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
Blogger Roy Ngerng speaking in Hong Lim Park on May 1, 2014. Mr Ngerng has been given until noon next Monday to pay costs to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Blogger Roy Ngerng has been given until noon next Monday to pay costs to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, after he was found to have defamed Mr Lee.

This comes after Mr Ngerng and his lawyer M Ravi missed a number of deadlines to make the $29,000 payment, which was ordered by the High Court last month.

Drew & Napier, the law firm representing Mr Lee, had sent a letter to Mr Ngerng's lawyer, M Ravi, on Jan 22, asking that the payment be made by Jan 29.

But the firm did not receive a reply, according to a statement released by the Prime Minister's press secretary Chang Li Lin on Friday.

Drew & Napier sent another letter on Jan 30 to ask for payment by Feb 2, but again received no reply, Ms Chang said.

On Feb 3, Mr Ngerng called Drew & Napier with the intention of visiting the law firm's office and making the $29,000 payment in cash.

Drew & Napier then wrote to Mr Ravi on the same day to ask if the latter would object to Drew & Napier receiving payment directly from Mr Ngerng.

This was because, "under the lawyers' professional rules, a lawyer cannot, without the consent of the opposite party's lawyer, deal directly with the opposite party", said Ms Chang in the statement.

Having failed to hear back from Mr Ravi, Drew & Napier on Friday issued another letter to Mr Ravi asking that payment of the costs be made by noon next Monday.

If this deadline is missed, the law firm will file an application in court "to compel payment and for costs", Ms Chang said.

"If that order is granted and payment is still not made, Mr Lee will avail himself of his legal remedies," she added.

In response, Mr Ngerng again called Drew & Napier on Friday and offered to make the payment in cash. Drew & Napier then wrote to Mr Ravi but has not received a response, said Ms Chang.