Financial advisor and veteran blogger Leong Sze Hian’s appeal against the High Court’s decision to strike out his counterclaim against Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s alleged abuse of judicial process will be heard later this year in September.
In a Facebook post on Mon (15 Apr), Mr Leong posted copies of the documents informing him of the hearing.
According to the letter from the Supreme Court dated 9 Apr, the hearing will take place before the Court of Appeal for the sitting of 9 Sep until 27 Sep, with both dates inclusive.
It also read that the appeal is likely to be fixed between 16 Sep and 27 Sep.
Justice Aedit Abdullah, in striking out Mr Leong’s counterclaim on 12 Feb, cited the Court of Appeal’s decision in Lee Tat Development Pte Ltd v Management Corporation Strata Title Plan No 301  2 SLR 866, which “rejected the tort of abuse of process as a recognised cause of action”.
TOC learnt that Mr Leong had paid the S$21,000 of legal fees claimed by PM Lee’s lawyers last month.
Davinder Singh Chambers (DSC), the law firm representing PM Lee in his defamation suit against Mr Leong, had previously issued a statement on 14 Mar requesting Mr Leong to pay a total of S$21,000 for two summonses.
“As you know, on 12 March 2019, the Honourable Justice Aedit Abdullah allowed SUM 148 and dismissed SUM 428 and on 13 March 2019.
“His Honour ordered your client to pay out client costs of $6,000 (all in) in respect of SUM 148 and $15,000 (all in) in respect of SUM 428,” read the statement addressed to Lim Tean of Carson Law Chambers, who is Mr Leong’s lawyer.
The statement also indicated that the cheque of S$21,000 should be given to DSC no later than 5pm on 21 Mar.
PM Lee’s defamation suit against Mr Leong sparked by “false and baseless” The Coveragearticle
The present case arose out of Mr Leong’s sharing of an article by “Malaysian-based social news network” The Coverage on his personal Facebook Timeline, titled “Breaking News: Singapore Lee Hsien Loong Becomes 1MDB’s Key Investigation Target – Najib Signed Several Unfair Agreements with Hsien Loong In Exchange For Money Laundering”.
The article alleged that Mr Lee had entered “several unfair agreements” with Mr Najib, who was the Malaysian Prime Minister at the time the deals purportedly took place, “including the agreement to build the Singapore-Malaysia High Speed Rail”, according to court documents.
Mr Leong, who had shared the article on 7 Nov last year, did not include any accompanying text alongside the article.
Prior to his removal of the post on 10 Nov after receiving a notice from the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) on 9 Nov, the court noted that Mr Leong’s article had garnered “22 ‘reactions’, five ‘comments’, and 18 ‘shares’”.
Subsequently, a writ of summons was filed by Mr Lee against Mr Leong on 20 Nov for defamation, on the grounds that the offending article created the “false and baseless” impression that Mr Lee had misused his position as Prime Minister to assist Mr Najib’s money laundering activities in relation to 1MDB’s funds, and subsequently insinuated that Mr Lee was “complicit in criminal activity” relating to the Malaysian state fund.
In response, Mr Leong filed his defence and counterclaim against Mr Lee’s suit on 26 Dec, citing Mr Lee’s “abuse” of the judicial process as his “relevant cause of action”.
However, Mr Lee filed a defence against Mr Leong’s counterclaim on 9 Jan this year, stating that the latter “did not disclose a reasonable cause of action”.