The court has ruled that Roy Ngerng to pay S$29,000 in total for legal fees and filing cost to PM Lee’s lawyer for summary judgment ruling on the defamation suit between Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Roy Ngerng.
Mr Ngerng, is being sued by Mr Lee in his personal capacity for a series of articles which had accused Mr Lee of “criminal misappropriation” of Singaporeans’ Central Provident Fund (CPF) monies, said Mr Lee’s lawyers, by comparing the management of CPF monies by the Government Investment Corporation of Singapore – or GIC Pte Ltd – with the corruption trial of leaders of the City Harvest Church.
The High Court had allowed summary judgement against Blogger, Roy Ngerng Yi Ling on 7 November last year.
In the closed-door court hearing on Monday (12 January) to determine the costs on the summary judgement, Lawyer Davinder Singh S.C. had initially asked the Court to award $49,027.61 which include for filing fees.
The lawyers representing Mr Ngerng had offered S$13,000 instead.
Davinder Singh argued that their lawyers have done “additional” work because they had to research where the articles by Roy Ngerng were republished, and had to prove that people downloaded and accessed the article, so that they could show the extent of damage that was done.
He also said that Roy Ngerng had made the matter “unnecessarily complicated” because Roy knew he was wrong but made the prime minister to prove that he is not, so there was also “additional” work that the legal team had to do.
The PM’s lawyers added that in their application for an injunction to stop Mr Ngerng from publishing or disseminating allegations that Mr Lee is guilty of criminal misappropriation of the monies paid by Singaporeans to the Central Provident Funds, or any words or images to the same effect.
The lawyer argued that as Mr Ngerng was not willing to accept the injunction, the legal team had to do “additional” work to prove that Mr Ngerng should be given an injunction from speaking on the matter.
M Ravi, representing lawyer for Roy Ngerng defended by saying that Ngerng had not submitted any frivolous defense and therefore should be charged with the standard rate.
Justice Lee Seiu Kin ultimately ruled that the total costs to be paid by Mr Ngerng to the the lawyers of PM Lee be fixed at S$20,000 for the summary judgement with an additional $9,000 for filing costs.
M Ravi said to reporters that his team is very gratified on the outcome of the hearing. “I must say that the judge was extremely fair in the assessment of the case as well as the delivery of his judgement.”
Assessment of damages to be held over 4 days
Hearing of the assessment of damages for the defamation is expected to take place over 4 continuous days in late June, with cross examination of all witnesses in open Court.
PM Lee is said to be taking the stand as a witness in court as the court did not approve the request by Davinder Singh to have witnesses not to turn up in court.