Singapore

Li Shengwu's lawyers fight order to serve papers on him in US

The lawyers of Mr Li Shengwu will apply to set aside the court order allowing the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) to serve papers on their client in the United States.

The AGC had earlier served papers for contempt of court against Mr Li, nephew of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

A pre-trial conference for the case was held at the High Court yesterday, attended by Senior Counsel Francis Ng for the AGC and Mr Li's counsel, Mr Abraham Vergis of Providence Law.

In a statement, Providence Law said it informed the court that it will make an application to set aside the ex parte - or one sided - order that allowed the AGC to personally serve papers on Mr Li, 32, who is a junior fellow at Harvard University.

Noting that the court papers filed by the AGC exceeded 1,300 pages, it said: "We explained we needed time to address the novel grounds which the AGC relied on to justify serving the papers out of jurisdiction."

The court directed that Mr Li file his application by Dec 22, and the next pre-trial conference is expected to take place on Jan 4.

Lawyer Choo Zheng Xi said the case against Mr Li cannot proceed if the application to set aside the court order goes through. If so, the AGC could appeal that decision to the Court of Appeal, or re-apply to court in a way that is procedurally correct, he said.

"By applying to set aside the order, what Mr Li's lawyers are saying is that the service (of papers) could have been improper or defective," said veteran lawyer Amolat Singh.

"Now, Mr Li will be able to put forward his own reasons on why this service may have been defective," Mr Amolat said.

"If they manage to set it aside, technically, the papers would not have been served to Mr Li yet."

The case centres on a July 15 Facebook post in which Mr Li said "the Singapore Government is very litigious and has a pliant court system".

COURT & CRIME