PM Lee's libel suit adjourned to Nov 30 after blogger Leong Sze Hian decides to not take witness stand
The hearing of the defamation lawsuit brought by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong against financial adviser Leong Sze Hian has been adjourned until Nov 30, when the court will hear further oral submissions.
Justice Aedit Abdullah yesterday ended the scheduled four-day hearing at the close of the second day, after Mr Leong's lawyer Lim Tean told the court he had advised his client that it was unnecessary for him to give evidence.
Mr Lim noted that there were nine issues before the court, and said the burden of proof for eight of them lies with PM Lee, who is suing Mr Leong for sharing an article from Malaysian news site The Coverage.
The article had falsely linked PM Lee to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) corruption scandal in Malaysia.
These issues included whether or not the offending words in the post Mr Leong had shared on his Facebook page should be understood to mean that he was suggesting PM Lee was complicit in criminal activity in the 1MDB scandal and helped former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak to launder money.
The one issue in which the burden of proof lies with Mr Leong is whether or not PM Lee's decision to sue him is an abuse of court process, said Mr Lim.
This, too, will be dealt with in his submissions, he added.
PM Lee's lawyer, Senior Counsel Davinder Singh, said Mr Lim's reasons were not credible as nothing he had said was new.
"He and his client have always known that, but for the issue of abuse of process, the burden of proof on the issues lies with the plaintiff. Further, he and the defendant have always known what our case was on each issue."
Mr Singh noted that Mr Leong's affidavit had said he would present himself for cross-examination.
"Therefore it is my submission that the defendant has never had any intention of taking the stand to be cross-examined and what is today being said as the reasons for him not doing so are, with the greatest respect, contrived," he added.