AHTC lawsuits

Lawyers argue over questions allowed for witness' re-examination

Senior Counsel Chelva Rajah (left) said he was entitled to get Ms Sylvia Lim to explain further on matters brought up during cross-examination. But Senior Counsel Davinder Singh said the answer Ms Lim gave him earlier was "clear and unequivocal".
Senior Counsel Chelva Rajah (left) said he was entitled to get Ms Sylvia Lim to explain further on matters brought up during cross-examination. But Senior Counsel Davinder Singh said the answer Ms Lim gave him earlier was "clear and unequivocal".PHOTOS: KHALID BABA, LIANHE ZAOBAO

The re-examination of Workers' Party (WP) chairman Sylvia Lim by her lawyer yesterday was stretched out by a tussle over the nature of questions that should be allowed during the process.

Senior Counsel Chelva Rajah, representing Ms Lim, said he was entitled to get her to explain further on matters brought up during cross-examination.

But Senior Counsel Davinder Singh said the answer Ms Lim gave him earlier to one of his questions during cross-examination on Monday was "clear and unequivocal".

Mr Singh had asked her whether she and her elected WP MPs were prepared to suppress information and breach their duties so that they could get the appointment of a new managing agent approved.

Ms Lim, who is one of eight defendants being sued for alleged breach of their fiduciary duties, replied that she disagreed.

Yesterday, picking up from where Mr Singh had left off, Mr Rajah tried to ask Ms Lim more about it. But Mr Singh interjected and said there was "no uncertainty" in Ms Lim's answer.

Mr Rajah countered that allegations were made, as far as the elected WP MPs were concerned, that they had misled the members of Aljunied-Hougang Town Council so they could get FM Solutions & Services (FMSS) appointed in 2011.

 
 
 

Mr Rajah said he was entitled to explore with Ms Lim whether the allegations can "hold water" or otherwise. He added that the re-examination should allow him to deal with issues raised in cross-examination that may not have been addressed.

Mr Singh argued that this should not be so as re-examination will be used as an opportunity to "take off as a galloping horse", and to ask all kinds of questions because they are deemed relevant.

After much back and forth between the two lawyers, Justice Kannan Ramesh said that if the answer of a witness during cross-examination was clear, there was no need for further explanation, and Ms Lim's answer was "emphatic".

Justice Ramesh said he had to agree with Mr Singh's objection.

Mr Rajah responded: "So be it."

But Ms Lim was given the opportunity to clarify other answers.

Ms Lim said yesterday that it would have been "redundant" to disclose the stakeholding of FMSS to the town councillors during a meeting they had on Aug 4, 2011, to choose a managing agent.

Among the six appointed councillors, one was a long-time Hougang resident, and the others knew who the main owners of FMSS were.

But Mr Singh stood up and said that evidence about other people's knowledge is "inadmissible".

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 25, 2018, with the headline 'Lawyers argue over questions allowed for witness' re-examination'. Print Edition | Subscribe