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Singapore High Court orders Lee Hsien Yang to pay S$400,000 in defamation suit to Ministers Shanmugam and Balakrishnan

The Singapore High Court has awarded Ministers K Shanmugam and Vivian Balakrishnan S$400,000 in damages in a defamation lawsuit against Lee Hsien Yang, stemming from allegations about Ridout estate rentals. Gutzy understands that Davinder Singh Chambers LLC, representing the two ministers, has also filed for costs and disbursements totalling S$219,335 to be paid by LHY.

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On Friday, the Singapore High Court ruled in favour of Ministers K Shanmugam and Vivian Balakrishnan, awarding them a total of S$400,000 in a defamation lawsuit against Mr Lee Hsien Yang (LHY) over allegations made regarding Ridout estate rentals.

The hearing for damages on 2 May was quickly resolved in just 15 minutes due to LHY’s absence and lack of representation.

The two ministers alleged that LHY had, in his Facebook post in July last year, accused them of receiving preferential treatment from the Singapore Land Authority (SLA), implicating them in corrupt activities.

Justice Goh Yihan, in his written judgement dated 24 May, described the allegations as “of the gravest kind,” targeting the personal integrity and professional reputation of Mr Shanmugam, who serves as Law and Home Affairs Minister, and Dr Balakrishnan, the Foreign Minister.

Both ministers are said to be recognized as leaders with high standing and impeccable integrity.

The judge found that LHY acted with malice in making these claims, indicating a disregard for the truth of the statements and a reckless attitude towards their potential impact.

Despite opportunities to retract the post and apologize, Mr Lee did not take any corrective action, leading to the continued circulation of these damaging statements.

The judge found that, based on the claimants’ interpretation of the offensive statements, the defendant’s accusations targeting their personal integrity, professional reputation, honor, and key personal traits were of the most severe nature. This strongly supported the decision to award higher damages.

Justice Goh highlighted the presence of malice, characterized by ill-will or improper motive, which warranted not only general damages but also aggravated damages.

The judge also acknowledged the ministers’ assertion that LHY is well-known in Singapore, a factor that contributed to the decision to award higher damages.

Justice Goh, in his judgement, identified several critical factors that led to the decision to award higher general damages and aggravated damages, drawing comparisons with precedents set in the cases of Lee Hsien Loong (LHL) vs Leong Sze Hian and LHL v Xu Yuan Chen (XYC) to determine the appropriate quantum of damages.

The judge noted the severe nature and gravity of the defamation, emphasizing that the allegations made by the defendant seriously tarnished the personal integrity, professional reputation, honor, and core personal attributes of the claimants, categorizing them as particularly grave.

Furthermore, the case parallels the LHL v LSH case in terms of the allegations involved—corruption, criminal behaviour, and abuse of position. The judge pointed out that the accusations in this instance were even more severe than those in the LHL v XYC case.

The judgment from LHL v XYC highlighted that while personal dishonesty is severe, it does not reach the level of seriousness associated with corruption, abuse of power, criminal conduct, complicity in endangering a life, nepotism, or misleading the public regarding public funds.

With these considerations in mind, Justice Goh suggested a damages award in line with the $210,000 total awarded in LHL v XYC, reflecting the significant impact of the defamation on the claimants.

The court considered various factors, particularly drawing from the cases of LHL v LSH and LHL v XYC, to determine the appropriate damages for each claimant.

In his judgement, Justice Goh reasoned that each claimant’s total quantum of damages should surpass S$133,000 and approach S$210,000. This calculation reflects the specific circumstances of the case, including the serious and grave nature of the defamation, the standing of both the claimants and the defendant, the breadth of publication and republication, and the defendant’s conduct and demonstrated malice.

However, the judge noted a distinction from LHL v XYC, pointing out that the extent of publication and republication in this case was not as extensive.

Consequently, the court awarded $200,000 in total damages to each claimant—comprising S$150,000 in general damages and S$50,000 in aggravated damages.

Gutzy understands that Davinder Singh Chambers LLC, representing the two ministers, has filed for costs and disbursements totalling S$219,335 to be paid by LHY.

LHY considers the ministers’ demand for an apology as a “false apology” for accusations he never made.

In the Facebook post, which Mr Shanmugam and Dr Balakrishnan have sued LHY for, LHY wrote that “two ministers have leased state-owned mansions from the agency that one of them controls” and mentioned having felled trees and “getting state-sponsored renovations.”

Mr Shanmugam oversees SLA as the Minister for Law.

According to Mr Shanmugam and Dr Balakrishnan’s allegations, LHY’s post accused them of acting corruptly and for personal gain by having SLA give them preferential treatment and paying for renovations to 26 and 31 Ridout Road.

The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) released a statement a few weeks prior to LHY’s post, stating that there had been no wrongdoing or preferential treatment given to the two ministers. Ministerial statements were also issued on 3 July last year by the two ministers to profess their innocence in front of fellow parliamentarians.

In July last year, following the publication of LHY’s post, the ministers sent lawyers’ letters to LHY, threatening to sue unless he apologized, withdrew his allegations, and paid damages to be donated to charity.

In response, LHY did not apologize and said that his statements do not imply corruption or personal gain. He has criticized the ministers for demanding what he considers a “false apology” for accusations he never made.

On 14 August, the two ministers’ legal team initially requested the court’s permission to serve the papers on LHY in the United Kingdom, where he currently resides, considering the Singapore court as the most appropriate venue for the case.

LHY stated in 2017 that he was “being forced to leave the country” amid a dispute over the future of his family home at 38 Oxley Road, which belonged to the late founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. He and his wife have been hounded by the Singapore Police Force for an investigation into an alleged case of perjury.

In their affidavits, Mr Shanmugam and Dr Balakrishnan highlighted their prominent roles as ministers in Singapore and underscored the relevance of the alleged defamatory statements to events in Singapore.

By 16 August, the court permitted the papers to be served on LHY outside its jurisdiction, the two ministers served legal papers concerning a defamation suit LHY via Facebook Messenger on 15 September last year.

LHY, who did not enter into appearance, had previously expressed a preference for the UK as the venue for the litigation. However, the two ministers, advised by their legal team, argue that Singapore is “clearly and distinctly the most appropriate forum for the trial.”

The Cabinet ministers sought permission from the court and then served papers to him via Facebook Messenger.

As LHY did not enter an appearance against the lawsuits, Justice Goh Yihan ruled in favour of the two ministers in November last year, ordering that LHY pay both ministers’ costs.

Justice Goh also granted injunctions against LHY, restraining him from making defamatory allegations against the two ministers.

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Wow, this amount can pay for their rentals

Someone in the law sector might check if any of the judges in this case has any prior association with the 2 plaintiffs – maybe somehow by relation, previously one had scratched the back of the other, from the same village, ex-colleagues/bosses/subordinates, lives near Ridout area, etc.

no eyes to see. when is old man jumping out?

LHY brave one .

Does lhy need to pay if he decided not returning ever?

When Old Man was still around, all these yaya-papayas including the Kayu Son didn’t dare bring up things like preserving the Oxley House for fuxk, nor rent colonial bungalows for themselves and asking SLA to part-pay the upkeeping. Shows PAP does indeed runs on a PLP culture.

Previously, when there is a screw-up, the Old Man would say “Uncompromising Integrity”; now they say “No Blaming Culture”.

Ops, my Google location change to Yishun again … Wonder which ministers have authority to keep asking Google to change my location. I oso dunno why?!?

Elaborate Schemes from all these elite.

High Court reports to who by the way ?

That is why , i keep telling pineapple lovers, that MP’s must all serve full time. not holding so many jobs .What do you think?

Mr Wong, can you rid out these 2 self-serving and obnoxious miws behaving like feudal lords from your cabinet?

Show us you are your own man. Citizens deserve better.

Why Singapore High Court orders Lee Hsien Yang to pay S$400,000 in defamation suit to Ministers Shanmugam and Balakrishnan?
Otherwise they will order Singapore High Court pay them S$400,000 for defamation

When national citizens owned newspaper twisted the meaning of temporary closure instead of Calling it the train services a breakdown – can I say, then, A certain son of LKY PUNISHED his brother to show HIS true COLOURS?

Is this political judiciary helping the PAP to PROVOKE voters? It might turn around – common sense is NOT COMMON. Are voters COMING around their cow senses?

Let hope pray tell these bastards are unintentional to achieve what they set out to – DESTROYING Lee’s reputation. The world is NOT blind, esp those who revels in Chinese culture AND it’s teachings.

Last edited 18 days ago by 80twenty

…and so History repeats itself in SG..
So what else is new in Fantasy Island.
.whether its LHY or some others..
Thats the only way they control people in SG and keep a tight hold on to power..
LHY should just give them both a tight slap by ignoring this and not paying up ..
No need to return to SG…for what?
At least we ‘ll have one SGporen standing up to these bullies.

Last edited 18 days ago by W.A.J.

How is it in the eyes of laws, eradication of preserved trees is NOT a crime, when these trees don’t seems to have economic political value, BUT they DO CERTAINLY HAVE HUGE AMOUNTS of ECOLOGICAL value – JUST bcz politicians DO NOT have the ECOLOGICAL sense.

Ecological VALUE are precious too. No people involved in valuing of trees DO NOT mean it’s of NO VALUE – not everything HAS GOT to be MONETARY.

How recusal succeeds in still getting a favourable outcome, esp when they are part of the source of recuse elements, fundamentally.

As for recuse it’s something like we, ‘excuse me, I m going to the washroom, be back in a while’ – I m sure this is how every lay person see and interpret recusal in life’s realistic actions.

In SG recusal is much seen as technical.

who the judges and jury report to?

Every individual and entity in this instance that allowed itself to be compromised, corrupted and coerced into declaring that black is indeed white, … must forever burn in hell, along with their future generations thereafter too !!! Then again, as with the “dead one” as the most real and relevant example, … despite all the dastardly, devious and despicable deeds, karma never showed up, … and he was never ever punished !!! Instead, he was honoured, decorated and godified, … which seems to be the case with these two RidOut tenants !!! SillyPore is indeed a sick sick place, where… Read more »

These 2 obviously dont believe in retribution from God above. They are godless people.Let pay sham and vivian back on polling day. Vote both these arrogant south asians out of their office. Let’s all get Ridout of them both.

Why did the Court listen to the case when as said, One is the Law Minister and the other the Foreign Minister? The case should have been heard in another jurisdiction. This outcome is prejudicial to LHY. Can we trust the integrity of the Court ?. LW should just terminate the services of these two, so called Ministers. They are shameless! Renting State properties and renting out their own Good Class bungalows. Anyone talking about it will be sued in their courts. No freedom of speech.Why do we have such awful people as Ministers? Yishun and Bukit Timah residents, still… Read more »

This is one vital and critical lesson

Pathetic
Lame
infantile
Idiocy

This is one vital and critical lesson for Lawrence Wong and the rest of his team, to OPEN THEIR EYES to learn. Not that I assumed that he will behave this way or govern the country in this way…yet. Suing their own citizens ,suing and jailing anyone who they viewed are opposing them, politically. As they say, just like the old fart LKY who thought in his prime time, he would extinguished anyone who went against him, never in his dreams, would he know of the blood battles that his OWN KIND would take it out on each other! Karma… Read more »

The more the G does this kind of thing, the more Singaporeans become more disgusted. Already the perception is that the whole Ridout issue was skewed to accomodate the two ministers. The G now compound the stupidity with suing LHY and awarding the ministers with such huge damages. Whether the money will be donated to charity is irrelevant. LHY should just ignore the ruling but must be prepared to live in exile forever given his age. It is very sad and shameful that such a fate has befallen on the son of LKY. Thus, like many commentators, I really hope… Read more »

Jeffery Jeff
It is the Emperor Emeritus Lee Hsien Loong who make use of his subjects Ministers the Reptilian humanoid K Shanmugam and Vivian Balashriskan to sue his own younger brother Lee Hsien Yang, Brother against Brother

Karma to Yang and the Lee family dynasty. This is what his father did. No defamation lawsuit filed here against anyone would LKY lose. So how’s the taste , Yang? This is what your Pa did to others here while you and your brother ,were both living the HIGH life and are the ‘UNTOUCHTABLES’! Never would Yang think that one day, just one day, would he be at the receiving end of the very system of justice, his Pa had entrenched to use against anyone that goes against him! Fracis Seow, Tang L H, Jeya and many others who got… Read more »

The amount is staggering. The PAP have forgotten elections is round the corner and the Public is the audience. Pay for the outcome at the ballot box. Only in Singapore, no Conflict of Interest and can get rewarded. A sad day for citizens and the State. The cronies think they have won but forget the battle is at the ballot box. So thank you judge for the verdict. We can now have hope for a coalition government. Crowd fund to show them our middle 🤞 finger.

The 2 sycophantic idiots from the snake holes are following the dirty pattern of their loony master as a way to silence critics.

It won’t be surprising if LawLan would do the same in the future

Understand staff selling TOTO , 4D are not allowed to buy TOTO, 4D?

So why working in civil service staff or govt staff can allowed to rent govt properties? that is my own opinion and logic hor. tsk tsk tsk

Yes, crowd fund Leong Tze Hian. tsk tsk tsk

What a pundek pyrrhic victory” nothing can cleanse the STINK from this unequal one hand tied up legal jousting even if both were to take an acid bath!

Have anyone easilier forgotten the UK court ruling on Sir Dyson case? well, 200k is alot of monies going to use for footing the rent.

Singaporeans should start a class action against the Kayu One for calling us Free Riders in a free elections.

Let’s organise a crowd fund the significance of which is very obvious, to send a very powerful message to those pseudo powers, pseudo judges to denounce their pseudo justice – the justice of which is with the people, with Yang and not the people who think power shd be theirs just bcz they are legislature and executive. Balls to U.

Though he is rich he should crowd fund. Sure got some unhappy goons dig out their last cent to donate.

Kenneth …. dig deeper. See if there is another B&W bungabunga that SLA might have renovated at around that time frame (or slightly later) but subsequently was left vacant (may have been rented by somebody else by now of course). Check tender for works issued by SLA to narrow down the scope of your search.

Well well…what else did anyone expect?
Playing field was chosen to be home ground and referee and linesmen was provided by sponsor.
Sure win win for both clowns. These 2 clowns are following in the footsteps of their boss.
Sue own citizens in court. I hope they’re proud of their achievements.
Vote wisely people..you might be next.

Who’s paying the judges salaries?

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