AGC succeeds in applications; Li Shengwu must appear in court to be cross-examined

Mr Li Shengwu will also have to answer questions under oath that the Attorney-General's Chambers has posed to him. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Mr Li Shengwu will have to make himself available for cross-examination in the contempt of court proceedings against him, said the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) on Monday (Feb 3).

Mr Li, the nephew of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, will also have to answer questions under oath that the AGC has posed to him.

This latest development came after the High Court on Monday heard several applications by both sides.

The AGC had previously asked Mr Li to answer various questions on oath, like whether there were members of the media among his Facebook friends. It also applied for Mr Li to produce certain documents that he referred to in his defence affidavit filed on Sept 24 last year.

In response, Mr Li had refused to answer the questions and applied to have them set aside. He also applied for discovery to obtain certain documents from the AGC.

The High Court dismissed Mr Li's applications on Monday.

This means Mr Li, who is an assistant professor of economics at Harvard University, will have to answer the AGC's questions within 14 days and under oath, and also produce the documents he referred to in his affidavit, said the AGC.

He will also have to attend court proceedings to be cross-examined.

The ruling on the applications comes after Mr Li had declared in a Facebook post on Jan 22 that he would not continue to participate in the proceedings against him, citing "unusual conduct" and "false and spurious" allegations by the AGC.

In 2017, Mr Li - the eldest son of Mr Lee Hsien Yang, the younger brother of PM Lee - was served court papers in the United States over a Facebook post he had made earlier that year.

In the July 2017 post, he wrote that the Singapore Government is "very litigious and has a pliant court system".

The post was made in relation to an ongoing family feud between PM Lee and his siblings over their family home at 38 Oxley Road. The house was owned by their father, founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, who died on March 23, 2015.

In its statement on Monday, the AGC noted that written submissions for the applications were to have been filed on Oct 10 last year and last Tuesday.

The AGC also said it has filed another application, for the court to declare that Mr Li and his lawyers had abused the court process.

This is over the release of Mr Li's defence affidavit to the media on or about Sept 29 last year.

The AGC said the affidavit was released before it was admitted into evidence or referred to in any court hearing - a breach of paragraph 29A(3) of the Supreme Court Practice Directions, which prohibits such disclosure.

The AGC had successfully applied for parts of the affidavit to be struck out, which Mr Li complained about in his Jan 22 Facebook post.

Mr Li said the AGC had also demanded that these parts of the affidavit be sealed in the court record, so the public cannot know what the parts contain.

On Monday, the AGC described the parts as having "contained scandalous and irrelevant material".

It added: "Mr Li and his lawyers have since filed affidavits apologising for the breach."

The court will hear this application at a later date, the AGC said, adding that Mr Li's lawyers had discharged themselves on Monday.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.