Mr Lee Hsien Loong has applied to the courts for a summary judgement in his defamation lawsuit against blogger Roy Ngerng.
A summary judgment is a judgment entered by a court for one party against another party without the case going through a full trial. Such a judgment may be issued on the merits of an entire case, or on discrete issues in that case. It is used when there is no dispute on the material facts of the case and a party is entitled to judgment
Mr Lee, who is also the prime minister of Singapore but is bringing the legal action in his personal capacity, sued Mr Ngerng on 30 May over a blog article which Mr Ngerng had written and published.
The article, Mr Lee claims, had accused him of “criminal misappropriation” with regards to monies from the Central Provident Fund (CPF), a national and compulsory savings scheme.
In his application for summary judgement on Friday, Mr Lee, represented by lawyers from Drew and Napier, is seeking the courts to determine “the natural and ordinary meaning of the words and images” contained in the offending article.
Mr Lee is also seeking damages and for an order for Mr Ngerng to be “restrained from publishing or disseminating that the Plaintiff... is guilty of criminal misappropriation of the monies paid by Singaporeans” to the CPF.
Mr Lee is also seeking costs from Mr Ngerng.
“The Court has jurisdiction and this is the proper case to determine the natural and ordinary meaning of the offending words and images,” Mr Lee’s submission said.
“The defendant has no defence to the Plaintiff’s claim and the only issue to be determined is damages,” it added.
Mr Ngerng had earlier complied with demands made by Mr Lee, including issuing an apology, removing the offending article and four others, and making an offer of compensation, which was subsequently rejected by Mr Lee, who described the S$5,000 offer as “derisory.”
When contacted by The Online Citizen (TOC), Mr M Ravi, who is representing Mr Ngerng, said, “As Roy’s lawyer I will be making submissions to vigorously resist the prime minister’s application for summary judgement.”
Should the application for summary judgment be allowed, we understand that the next stage will be an assessment of damages hearing where the prime minister will be crossed examined on the issue of the quantum of damages Mr Ngerng will have to pay him.