Lee Kuan Yew's lawyer testifies on final day of TOC libel trial
Kwa Kim Li asked about notes on e-mails, letters on Oxley Road house, in PM Lee's libel suit against TOC editor
A trial for Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's defamation lawsuit against The Online Citizen (TOC) editor Terry Xu concluded yesterday after Mr Xu's lawyer Lim Tean briefly questioned Ms Kwa Kim Li, who prepared six wills for the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
She took the stand in the afternoon, after her application to set aside a subpoena was denied by Justice Audrey Lim in the morning.
Ms Kwa, a managing partner at the Lee and Lee law firm, is the niece of the late founding prime minister's wife Kwa Geok Choo.
While she had prepared Mr Lee Kuan Yew's first six wills, Ms Kwa was cut out off the communications for his seventh and final will. She has previously said that she did not prepare the last will.
During the 40-minute hearing yesterday, Mr Lim took Ms Kwa through a number of e-mails that Mr Xu had relied on to show that Mr Lee Kuan Yew did believe his house had been gazetted.
PM Lee is suing Mr Xu over claims he made in a TOC article published on Aug 15 last year.
The allegedly defamatory statements in the article include an allegation that PM Lee had misled his father into thinking that the 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.
Mr Lim asked Ms Kwa to confirm if a clause relating to the demolition of Mr Lee Kuan Yew's Oxley Road home had been included in the first four of the six wills she prepared for him, but not the last two. Ms Kwa confirmed this.
However, the demolition clause was later included in the late Mr Lee's final will on Dec 17, 2013.
Mr Lim also asked Ms Kwa to confirm that she had written several handwritten notes on copies of various e-mails and letters between her and the Lee family.
One such note said "Ling one share more", referring to Mr Lee Kuan Yew giving his daughter Dr Lee Wei Ling an extra share of the estate compared with her brothers in earlier versions of his will. The final will gave all three equal shares.
Another had the words "I can't find gazette. Told him", which Ms Kwa had written on a copy of an e-mail that Mr Lee Kuan Yew had sent to Ms Kwa and Dr Lee on Sept 6, 2012.
Ms Kwa told the court that she had indeed written the words and that the "him" in the note had referred to Mr Lee Kuan Yew. She also said that she had written "I can't find Oxley gazette" on a copy of an e-mail from the late Mr Lee to Ms Kwa, dated Oct 16, 2012.
Justice Audrey Lim asked Ms Kwa to confirm that both e-mails were referring to the results of her attempts to find a document showing that the Oxley Road house had been gazetted.
"That is correct," Ms Kwa replied.
She added that she could not remember how many times she had tried to find such a document but that "it would be at least twice".
When Mr Lim asked if she had informed Mr Lee Kuan Yew of the outcome on each occasion after she did a search, Ms Kwa said the answer was privileged.
She gave the same response to several other questions Mr Lim asked, which were related to her attorney-client relationship with the late Mr Lee.
However, when she said this in response to Mr Lim's questions about two notes she had written that said "Loong has free rein" and "he can handle Cabinet", Justice Lim told her to answer them.
"I don't think it is privileged. This is what is written, so we would like a clarification as to who 'he' is," said the judge.
In response, Ms Kwa confirmed that she was referring to PM Lee. The parties were given four weeks to make written submissions to Justice Lim, who will deliver her judgment at a later date.