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Attorney-General’s Chambers appears to be defending Karl Liew than prosecuting him for lying

Terry Xu writes that the recent sentencing of Karl Liew to just two weeks of imprisonment for lying about items stolen by a domestic worker has left many questioning the fairness of Singapore’s justice system.

He says it’s clear that the prosecution went light on Karl, who should have been charged under Section 195 of the penal code for lying in court, and proportionally punished with a sentence equivalent to 23 months of the worker’s original 26-month imprisonment.

However, it’s not just Karl’s light sentence that’s concerning.

The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC)’s reluctance to accept the Victim Impact Statement from the domestic worker, which she had already prepared, raise questions if AGC was worried that her statement would adversely affect the chances of Karl getting off with just a S$5,000 fine.

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The sentencing of Karl Liew to two weeks of imprisonment marks the end of a long saga where an innocent Indonesian domestic worker was wrongfully accused of theft by a wealthy and connected family who thought nothing would come out of their wild allegations.

However, it should be noted that the imprisonment term was based on the sentencing judge’s discretion, rather than what the prosecutors from the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) had asked for.

Both the prosecution and Karl’s defence lawyer had submitted that Karl – who is an undischarged bankrupt – should be fined the maximum amount of S$5,000.

The prosecution did not ask for a custodial sentence on account of Karl’s claim he has Parkinson’s disease, while Karl’s lawyer said that a custodial sentence (jail time) would severely impair his client due to the sickness.

This comes as the prosecution amended the initial charge of Section 193, which carries an imprisonment for a term of up to 7 years and/or a fine, to a lesser charge of Section 182 that carries an imprisonment term of 2 years and/or a fine.

Karl was initially charged on 5 November 2020 with two counts under Sections 177 and 193 of the Penal Code.

District Judge Eugene Teo, who heard the case, disagreed with the submissions from both parties, stating that “nothing less than an imprisonment sentence is due for such cases.”

DJ Teo even noted in his judgment that the submissions by Deputy Prosecutor Kelvin Chong read like mitigation for the accused, which the defence copied wholesale.

The District Judge even had to be the one to ask for the credentials of the doctor who certified Karl to be suffering from Parkinson’s disease, which would suggest that the Prosecution did not have any objection to Karl’s claim of being sick without much proof.

Normally, the Prosecution would have been the party breathing down the neck of any accused who claims sickness and requesting their own doctors to do the examinations.

In a rare instance where the judge had to step out to disagree with the submissions by the prosecution, which Karl’s lawyers also adopted, Karl’s false testimony caused no actual harm because the judge did not convict Ms Parti of the theft of the items based on the testimony.

DJ Teo states that this approach is narrow and fails to consider the broader context as he believes that Karl’s false testimony resulted in police and prosecution being misled, Ms Parti being investigated and charged for a small part of the offence, and all parties having to expend time and effort in reviewing the probity of the false evidence.

It is clear that even as charges were filed against Karl, the prosecution was going light on Karl – whose father, Liew Mun Leong, was a prominent business leader in Singapore – by choosing to charge him solely for lying about items that had been taken out by DJ Low in her judgment, as if it had contemplated how to mitigate the sentencing as it did in its submissions.

As the District Judge rightfully pointed out in his judgment, the prosecution had focused only on a small segment of Karl’s testimony, which was the basis for Ms Parti’s original conviction.

Out of S$50,856 worth of items that Ms Parti was charged for stealing, S$46,856 worth of items were declared by Karl, which was reduced to S$34,000 by DJ Low due to the pro bono efforts of Mr Anil Balchandani from Red Lion Circle law firm.

Items claimed to have been stolen by Karl Liew

The allegations made by Karl and his testimony in court over the course of five days – insisting that Ms Parti had stolen the items from his family – could be argued as the key basis for which DJ Olivia Low made her judgment and sentencing.

As many have called for Karl to be punished with the same sentence that Ms Parti was initially convicted with, AGC should have charged Karl under Section 195 of the penal code for the lies that he had spoken to the police and in court about the alleged theft.

Section 195 states, “Whoever gives or fabricates false evidence, intending thereby to cause, or knowing it to be likely that he will thereby cause, any person to be convicted of an offence which by this Code or under any other law for the time being in force is not capital but punishable with imprisonment for a term of 7 years or upwards, shall be punished as a person convicted of that offence would be liable to be punished.”

Considering proportionality, Karl’s false evidence that resulted in Ms Parti’s wrongful conviction should have been punished with a sentence equivalent to 23 months of her original 26-month imprisonment, rather than the lenient two-week sentence that the District Judge was constrained to impose based on the charge decided upon by the AGC.

In any case, AGC’s actions are not surprising, given how its prosecutors fought to reject Mr Balchandani’s submission on the High Court’s assessment of Karl as a witness, where Judicial Commissioner Audrey Lim said in a 2018 judgment, “Overall, I find Liew to be a dishonest and evasive witness, whose evidence was riddled with inconsistencies.”

DPP Tan Yingying fought Mr Balchandani at every step of the hearing to deny the admission of the judgment as a statement of Karl’s credibility as a witness.

DPP Tan Yingying refuses to allow Mr Balchandani to present the judgement from Justice Audrey Lim to court as evidence

But at the same time, it is rare for AGC to charge its witnesses for lying in court, even in cases where it is shown that the witness lied in court. Had it not been for the public outcry over the wrongful prosecution of Ms Parti, it would probably be inconceivable to expect AGC to proceed with any action against Karl.

That reluctance can perhaps be illustrated by how AGC declined to accept the Victim Impact Statement from Ms Parti, which she had already prepared, as if AGC was worried that her statement would adversely affect the chances of Karl getting off with just a S$5,000 fine.

This article was first published on The Online Citizen and republished on Gutzy as Minister of Communication and Information Josephine Teo requested the article to be removed under the POFMA declaration that she issued on 21 July 2023

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While the Karl Liew Scandal is disgraceful, the Lily Kong Scandal is even worse. The PAP Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) and the rotting, scandal-ridden PAP regime, are now protecting the deeply dishonest “elite” criminal and perjurer Lily Kong, BBM, who is a Justice of the Peace and the President of Singapore Management University. Just like Karl Liew committed perjury and deceived the trial judge in Ms Parti Liyani’s case, Lily Kong committed perjury and deceived a trial judge in 2017, but the PAP Attorney-General is now protecting Lily Kong from prosecution for her crime, and the “elite” criminal Lily Kong is getting away… Read more »

If we want Separation of Powers of the Judiciary, Legislative and Executive, we must vote in the Opposition. The abuse of State institutions are only going to increase as unchecked power only increases the confidence that those close to the ruling party can get away with crimes. LHL has stamped his approval on accepting and white washing all wrong doings of the PAP, probably in exchange for their loyalties and hunting his brother LHY. The JUDICIARY can correct it but how many will?

To be FAIR ie: for justice to be served, Karl Liew should serve a minimum sentence in jail what the Indonesian maid would have served if Karl Liew had gotten away with his lie(s). I would personally recommend that he serve TWICE that.

Karl Liew can then entertain the other inmates there as well as the prison officers with his cross-dressing.

Time and time again, AGC has scandalised the legal profession. This is no exception.

So? You oppo fucks NOT HAPPY is it?
Ask your Pritam or Hamtam or whatever ‘Tam’ to get that MANDATE ONTO HIS HANDS ,LAH?
TALK SO MUCH FOR FUCK?
You know every election you fuckers stand no chance, so for the next 5 yrs just Kow peh Kow bu everyday till the next election comes around again!😆😆😆😆🤣🤣

Legal qualifications sucks.
Competence is subjective.
Loyalty is CORRUPTION.

Moral judicial independence – zero – CERTAINLY is a LIGHT HOUSE for Sheegaporeans and A HUGE Plus for Sheegapore’s progress UNLIKE NOW, polluted by huge numbers of DISCARDED Foreign Trash whose character demands SG not speak against towards, esp those from CECA approved, bcz the Chief Antagoniser brand it as Racist when factually, nothing whatsoever of it referred to as, exists.

The Bar Council should have intervened and even start some kind of disciplinary proceedings against the DPP Kelvin Chong for his “poor” performance in carrying out his duties in this case. It is very obvious even to laymen that the DPP was deliberately “incompetent” and was going easy on Karl Liew. I believe there was some kind of wrong being committed like some boxer throwing a boxing match. Or are members of the AGC not members of the Bar Council? If they are not also members of the Bar Council, then we should watch Kelvin Chong’s career trajectory because the… Read more »

The world bought effusively Singapore under the PAP Administration works so well cz the rule of laws works meticulously. It could be a case the world media hypocritically sells, accept SG punches above its weight, unassumingly the ownself praise ownself Millionaire Duds is blindsided, faking a SG attractive only to 3rd world fake talents. If not why critically important pillars of productivity, innovation, and indigenous birth rates are so deplorable. The gradually degrading of SG is like a glacier – on the surface it glides like a Olympic Skater moving on thin ice – corrosive powerfully underneath UNSEEN by many.… Read more »

This GLARING obnoxios behaviour of ABUSE of State Institutions directed to serve Politicians presumably became one tenet of management culture of Singtel exhibited in the Malfunction of Optus Telecoms Australia.

Singapore’s AG should be independently voted in by all lawyers in Law Society of Singapore and not appointed by just 1 man’s whimsy who literally control every single node of governances. Danger of no check and balance for so long

An attorney.
And a general.
Combo – what do one get, especially when one is both a friend, and legal confidante?

If the title change to Singapore National Attorney, or State Attorney, isn’t this denotes a more fairer legal figure to serve Singapreans at large rather the title of AG sounding more like a PAP Protector?

Certainly substance is also more important than a title head – which in practice has shown him to be biased to people with brains.

May I know why bring up the case? They ain’t going to CHANGE. It will just be a case of Rich Liew with connection winning.

And bring up Rheesah Khan when plenty of politicians lying for self gained. While Rheesah gained nothing out of the “drama”

All their own kaki-nan within their very privileged inner circle and rubbing hands and shoulders together. Are we surprised that even the prosecuting party have turned the table?

Remember that Workers’ Party ex-Sengkang MP Raeesah Khan? They even used her statements and believe in what she said and used it to prosecute her Party’s leaders even though she is the one lying in Parliament

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