Contempt of court: 2-week suspended jail term for Hour Glass co-founder

Jannie Chan does not need to serve jail time if she complies with certain conditions. Among other things, she must stop sending her former husband e-mails and continue with psychiatric treatment once a month.
Jannie Chan does not need to serve jail time if she complies with certain conditions. Among other things, she must stop sending her former husband e-mails and continue with psychiatric treatment once a month.ST FILE PHOTO

Prominent businesswoman Jannie Chan, 72, was given a two-week suspended jail term yesterday for flouting a court order by sending her former husband hundreds of allegedly defamatory e-mails.

It was the third time Chan's former husband Henry Tay, 73, has pursued contempt of court proceedings against her. He dropped the case the first time after she apologised, and she was fined $30,000 the second time.

The couple, who co-founded luxury watch retailer The Hour Glass, ended their 41-year marriage in 2010.

Yesterday, the High Court sentenced her to two weeks in jail for her latest breach, but suspended the prison term for a year, provided she stops sending Dr Tay e-mails, continues to undergo psychiatric treatment once a month and keeps her former husband updated about each session.

If she complies with the conditions within the year, Chan does not need to serve any jail time.

However, if she fails to comply, Dr Tay can go to court to lift the suspension, which means Chan could end up in jail.

 
 
 

Dr Tay first filed a lawsuit against Chan in 2014 for sending him 1,260 e-mails between November 2013 and September 2014, which, he alleged, were defamatory or amounted to harassment.

Some were sent to other recipients, including family members, friends, employees and Cabinet ministers.

Throughout the proceedings, multiple court orders were issued to restrain Chan from defaming Dr Tay and harassing him by sending him e-mails without his consent. But she repeatedly flouted the orders.

The latest breach involves nearly 500 e-mails sent between March last year and February, and between April and last month.

Chan appeared in court last month to explain the e-mails. She said they were mainly to update her former husband about matters relating to their daughter Audrey and Audrey's children, and the companies owned by her and Dr Tay.

During the hearing, she veered off topic several times, and raised grievances against her former husband's "Korean lady friend".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 03, 2017, with the headline 'Contempt of court: 2-week suspended jail term for Hour Glass co-founder'. Print Edition | Subscribe