Singapore

Judge's findings 'raise questions' after maid acquitted of stealing

The Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC), police and Ministry of Manpower (MOM) are looking into the case of a former domestic worker acquitted of stealing from Changi Airport Group (CAG) chairman Liew Mun Leong and his family.

This comes after Justice Chan Seng Onn, in his 100-page judgment on the case last Friday, found the trial judge's conviction against her to be unsafe.

Ms Parti Liyani, 46, who worked for the Liew family from 2007 to 2016, was accused of stealing over $34,000 worth of items from them. She was found guilty on four counts of theft and sentenced to jail for two years and two months in March last year.

She appealed to the High Court against her conviction and sentence and was acquitted last Friday.

The AGC said yesterday it will study Justice Chan's judgment.

This is to assess what further action, if any, ought to be taken.

In his judgment, Justice Chan had found "some time prior to her termination", Ms Parti had expressed unhappiness at being made to do additional work of cleaning the house and office of Mr Liew's son, Mr Karl Liew.

"There is reason to believe that the Liew family, upon realising her unhappiness, took the pre-emptive first step to terminate her employment suddenly..." he said.

He also found when Ms Parti threatened to complain to MOM, the senior Mr Liew and his son lodged the police report to prevent her return to Singapore to make the complaint.

AGC said Justice Chan had also disbelieved the evidence of members of the Liew family.

"His findings do raise questions which warrant further investigations," it added.

MOM said it is in consultation with AGC as to whether further action ought to be taken. It said in October 2017, Ms Parti made a report of illegal deployment by the elder Mr Liew's wife, Madam Ng Lai Peng, to her son's residence in 2016, and to his office around 2012 and 2013.

MOM found this had happened on different occasions. It issued a caution to Madam Ng and an advisory to Mr Karl Liew.

Meanwhile, police said they would be looking into observations made by Justice Chan. He had found there was a break in the chain of custody of evidence. This created reasonable doubt as to whether some of the allegedly stolen items were accurately documented by the photos taken by the police.

Justice Chan also found two statements were taken from Ms Parti without an interpreter.

COURT & CRIME