TOC editor had set out to attack PM Lee in article, says lawyer
The Online Citizen (TOC) editor Terry Xu was accused yesterday of having "deliberately dipped his pen in poison" to attack Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in an article on the 38 Oxley Road saga.
PM Lee's lawyer, Senior Counsel Davinder Singh, also asked Mr Xu whether he was attempting to "take a swipe" at the Prime Minister by publishing a Facebook post and an article on the lawsuit.
Mr Singh noted that Mr Xu did as such after he was served a writ of summons in September last year, following his refusal to remove the offending article and apologise.
Mr Xu denied both points yesterday, the third day of the week-long trial on a defamation suit against him by PM Lee.
The offending article, published in August last year, referred to PM Lee's sister Lee Wei Ling's remarks alleging that her brother had misled their late father Lee Kuan Yew into believing their Oxley home had been gazetted by the Government.
In the cross-examination, Mr Singh put it to Mr Xu that he was setting out to attack PM Lee in the article, titled "PM Lee's wife Ho Ching weirdly shares article on cutting ties with family members".
"You had dipped your pen in poison and you did so deliberately," said Mr Singh.
"It was not, as you claimed, a mere report of the allegations... Isn't it true that what you did was to use Ho Ching's article as a peg to creatively create this false attack?"
Mr Singh further said that having been charged earlier in a separate suit - for alleged defamation of the Cabinet - Mr Xu saw Ms Ho's article, titled "Here's why sometimes it is okay to cut ties with toxic family members", as an opportunity to attack the head of the Government.
Mr Xu disagreed.
Mr Singh then referred to lines in the TOC article which read: "The irony of Madam Ho sharing the article is what's interesting and amusing to us. This is because everyone knows that she has a sour relationship with her husband's family members - particularly her brother-in-law Lee Hsien Yang and sister-in-law, Dr Lee Wei Ling."
He asked Mr Xu: " In your view, if this was ironic, could you tell us what you thought the irony was?"
Mr Xu responded: "The relationship between Ms Ho Ching and her in-laws isn't that good. Yet, she was sharing this post to say it is advisable to distance from toxic relatives... The irony is that I feel she is the toxic family member."
"Oh, really?" said Mr Singh.
Justice Audrey Lim, among other things, asked: "Where is the irony...? Why is she deemed to be the toxic one when the rest of the paragraphs don't talk about her?"
Mr Xu replied that any reader with knowledge of the Lee family feud would comprehend the irony of the matter.
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