Hearing on application by PM Lee in defamation case against blogger Ngerng ends with judgment reserved

Blogger Roy Ngerng at the Labour Day protest at Hong Lim Park on May 1, 2014. A High Court hearing into an application by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for a summary judgment in his defamation suit against Mr Ngerng, concluded on Thursday with
Blogger Roy Ngerng at the Labour Day protest at Hong Lim Park on May 1, 2014. A High Court hearing into an application by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for a summary judgment in his defamation suit against Mr Ngerng, concluded on Thursday with the judge reserving his judgment. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A High Court hearing into an application by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for a summary judgment in his defamation suit against blogger Roy Ngerng, concluded on Thursday with the judge reserving his judgment.

This means that Justice Lee Seiu Kin will make his decision known at a later date.

The closed-door hearing into the application started in the morning and lasted just over three hours.

Shortly after proceeding began in the chambers of Justice Lee, Mr Ngerng was granted permission to sit in on the hearing. This came after an application by his lawyer M. Ravi.

Mr Lee sued Mr Ngerng for defamation over a May 15 blog post, which alleged the misappropriation of Central Provident Fund (CPF) monies.

In the post, the blogger drew links between City Harvest Church leaders prosecuted for allegedly misusing $50 million of church funds, and what Mr Lee had allegedly done to CPF funds.

On July 10, Mr Lee applied to the High Court for a summary judgment, a process in which a plaintiff asks the court to rule in his favour without a trial. He said Mr Ngerng did not have a defence against defamation.

But Mr Ngerng countered, through court statements, that the Prime Minister's lawyers misunderstood his blog post when they took it to mean he was saying Mr Lee had misappropriated CPF funds.

On Thursday, Mr Ngerng was accompanied by his father, mother and older sister at the High Court. About 20 friends and supporters also turned up for the hearing that started at 10am.

Mr Lee is being represented by Senior Counsel Davinder Singh.