Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was cross-examined by blogger Roy Ngerng for six hours in the High Court yesterday in a hearing to assess damages for libel.
Mr Lee's lawyers, led by Senior Counsel Davinder Singh, are seeking aggravated damages over remarks Mr Ngerng, 34, made in a blog post on the Central Provident Fund in May last year that conveyed the impression Mr Lee had misappropriated citizens' savings.
Mr Lee told the court that all it would have taken for Mr Ngerng to avoid being sued was a sincere apology. Instead, the blogger repeated the libel and characterised himself as a victim of political persecution.
Mr Ngerng, who discharged his lawyer last week, said he had no intention to defame Mr Lee, and posed all manner of questions to him, at times leaving those in court puzzled at his queries, and drawing objections from Mr Singh. But Justice Lee Seiu Kin said he would give Mr Ngerng more latitude as he was representing himself.
At the close of yesterday's session, Mr Ngerng asked if saying sorry was not enough. Mr Lee replied: "Saying sorry alone would have been plenty, but unfortunately, that's not only what you did."