PM Lee's libel suit against TOC editor: Lee Kuan Yew's lawyer Kwa Kim Li to take the stand

Ms Kwa Kim Li (left) was subpoenaed by lawyer Lim Tean (right), who is representing Mr Terry Xu in the defamation suit.
Ms Kwa Kim Li (left) was subpoenaed by lawyer Lim Tean (right), who is representing Mr Terry Xu in the defamation suit. PHOTOS: ONG WEE JIN, CHONG JUN LIANG

SINGAPORE - The lawyer who prepared six wills for the late founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew will appear at the High Court on Thursday (Dec 3) to testify in a defamation suit against The Online Citizen (TOC) editor Terry Xu.

Ms Kwa Kim Li, who did not handle the late Mr Lee's seventh and final will, was subpoenaed by Mr Lim Tean of Carson Law Chambers, who is representing Mr Xu in the libel action brought by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Ms Kwa is the niece of the late Mr Lee's wife Kwa Geok Choo.

The case centres on claims made by TOC in an article published on Aug 15 last year, titled "PM Lee's wife, Ho Ching weirdly shares article on cutting ties with family members".

The TOC article had commented on how PM Lee's wife, Ms Ho Ching, had shared a link on Facebook to an article titled "Here's why sometimes it is okay to cut ties with toxic family members".

It also referenced statements and Facebook posts made earlier by PM Lee's siblings, Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee Wei Ling.

In September last year, PM Lee asked TOC to remove the article, along with a Facebook post linking to it, and publish a full and unconditional apology.

The Prime Minister's press secretary, Ms Chang Li Lin, had said the allegations in the article and post were libellous and repeated several false allegations against PM Lee that were previously made by his sister.

These included accusations that PM Lee had misled his father into thinking that his 38 Oxley Road house had been gazetted by the Government, and that it was therefore futile for Mr Lee Kuan Yew to keep his direction to demolish it.

PM Lee also said that the article alleged Mr Lee Kuan Yew had removed PM Lee as an executor and trustee of his will after it was revealed to him in late 2013 that the 38 Oxley Road property had in fact not been gazetted.

Mr Xu has disputed this in court, saying his article was not intended to draw a link between when the late Mr Lee supposedly discovered the deception and when he removed PM Lee as an executor of his estate.

Mr Xu first applied to subpoena Ms Kwa on Oct 7 this year. This came after he managed to obtain copies of documents that emerged during a disciplinary tribunal's investigations into misconduct by Mr Lee Hsien Yang's wife, senior lawyer Lee Suet Fern.

The documents included e-mails exchanged between Ms Kwa and the late Mr Lee in 2011 and 2012, which Mr Xu relied on to show that the founding prime minister did believe his house had been gazetted and that Ms Kwa subsequently told him she could not find the gazette notice.

The week-long trial continues at 2.45pm on Thursday.