Lawyer of maid convicted of stealing from Changi Airport Group chairman Liew Mun Leong's home argues she was framed

Parti Liyani is appealing to the High Court against her conviction and sentence of two years and two months' jail for stealing more than $34,000 worth of items. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - The lawyer for a domestic worker convicted of stealing from Changi Airport Group (CAG) chairman Liew Mun Leong and his family, alleged at her appeal on Friday (Nov 1) that she was being framed to prevent her from lodging a complaint against the family for illegal deployment.

But prosecutors countered that there was no reason for the family to lie, pointing out that after Mr Liew decided to terminate the maid's employment, his wife had given the Indonesian three months' salary amounting to $1,800.

Parti Liyani, who worked for the family from 2007 to 2016, is appealing to the High Court against her conviction and sentence of two years and two months' jail for stealing more than $34,000 worth of items .

During Parti's district court trial, Mr Liew testified that he suspected her of stealing for years when things went missing at his Chancery Lane house, but his wife told him it may not have been the maid who took them.

Mr Liew said he finally decided to terminate her employment in October 2016. The last straw was the loss of a portable power bank given to him by a French university that had invited him to give a guest lecture.

As he was overseas, he asked his son Karl Liew to oversee the termination of her service and her repatriation to Indonesia.

On Oct 28 that year, Mr Karl Liew told Parti that she would no longer be working for the family and gave her about three hours to pack her belongings.

He agreed to pay for the three boxes to be shipped to her home and the maid returned to Indonesia.

The next day, the family opened the boxes to check the contents and found many of their belongings inside. A police report was made after the CAG chairman returned to Singapore.

On Friday, Parti's lawyer Anil Balchandani argued that the discovery of items in the boxes presented a convenient avenue for the family to prevent the maid from returning to Singapore and reporting them to the Manpower Ministry.

Mr Anil said that besides working at the family home, Parti was regularly told to clean Mr Karl Liew's office.

In October 2016, she was tasked to clean his house. The lawyer asserted that Parti was fired for refusing to comply after doing so for a week.

Mr Anil argued that the items alleged to be stolen were either discarded objects, Parti's own belongings, or things that had been put into the boxes by someone else.

More than 10 items were presented to High Court judge Chan Seng Onn for inspection.

The items Mr Anil said were discarded included a DVD recorder that could not play DVDs and a Gerald Genta watch with a missing knob and broken strap.

Mr Anil also showed the court various items of clothing, arguing that they were Parti's but Mr Karl Liew had claimed they were his. These included a shirt with buttons on the left, which the lawyer pointed out was a feature of women's shirts.

The appeal hearing was adjourned for the prosecution to continue its arguments.

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