1st charge

Maid accused of theft, then acquitted: DVD player faulty, CAG chief Liew Mun Leong couldn't give details on 'stolen' bags

In a detailed 100-page judgment on Friday, a High Court judge acquitted a former domestic worker of stealing from the affluent family that she worked for. Justice Chan Seng Onn laid out the reasons why a police report may have been made against her, and why he believed her testimony.

Changi Airport Group chairman Liew Mun Leong and his wife Madam Ng Lai Peng.
Changi Airport Group chairman Liew Mun Leong and his wife Madam Ng Lai Peng.ST PHOTOS: WONG KWAI CHOW

Ms Parti Liyani was accused of stealing a $1,000 Pioneer DVD player and two Longchamp bags worth about $200 each from Mr Liew Mun Leong.

In her defence, Ms Parti said that in 2012 or 2013, Mr Liew's wife, Madam Ng Lai Peng, wanted to throw the DVD player away because it was broken, but agreed to let her take it back to Indonesia to fix.

Madam Ng said in court, however, that the DVD player was not broken. At the trial, it was shown that the device could play a video digitally stored in the hard disk. However, a demonstration at the appeal showed that when a DVD was inserted into the player, the error message "could not initialise disc" was displayed.

Justice Chan Seng Onn said a DVD player that is unable to play a DVD can reasonably be described as "spoilt". He found it likely that the Liews no longer wanted the "partially spoilt" player.

As for the bags, Ms Parti said she had found them "near the rubbish bin" at a neighbour's house at the end of 2010.

In contradiction, Mr Liew said in court he had bought the bags, but when pressed for details, could not recall when or where he had bought them.

Justice Chan found Mr Liew's evidence on ownership to be "lacking" as he could not specifically and positively identify the particular bags alleged to be stolen.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 06, 2020, with the headline 'DVD player faulty, Liew couldn't give details on 'stolen' bags'. Subscribe