PM Lee asks courts to decide damages in defamation suit without full trial

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has made an application for the High Court to rule in his favour in his defamation suit against blogger Roy Ngerng, without going through a full trial. -- PHOTO: AFP
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has made an application for the High Court to rule in his favour in his defamation suit against blogger Roy Ngerng, without going through a full trial. -- PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has made an application for the High Court to rule in his favour in his defamation suit against blogger Roy Ngerng, without going through a full trial.

Lawyer M. Ravi, who is representing Roy Ngerng, disclosed this in an e-mail message to the press about Mr Lee's application for a summary judgment.

A summary judgment is a procedure whereby a plaintiff claims that the defendant has no case and seeks judgment in his favour without a trial.

In the application, Mr Lee's lawyer Davinder Singh argued that it is within the jurisdiction of the courts to rule in favour of Mr Lee at this stage of the case since, Mr Ngerng has "no defence". He added that "the only issue to be determined is damages".

The senior counsel asked the court to issue a provisional decision on how much damages Mr Lee should receive.

He also asked the courts to ban the continued publication or dissemination of the offending blog posts containing the allegation that Mr Lee had criminally misappropriated Central Provident Fund savings.

Mr Ngerng, 33, is being sued for defamation after alleging that Mr Lee had criminally misappropriated CPF savings in a May 15 blog post. He followed it up with a few other posts and videos on the same topic.

Last month, in a defence filed in court, he said that he never intended to accuse Mr Lee of misappropriating CPF savings.

He also argued that the key concerns raised in his May 15 blog post, which is at the centre of the suit, were the lack of transparency with which CPF funds are managed, and the question of interest on these savings, among other things.

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