The Online Citizen‘s editor-in-chief Terry Xu has filed his defence against Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s defamation suit on Fri afternoon (27 Sep).
Following Mr Xu’s refusal to take down an article published on TOC titled “PM Lee’s wife, Ho Ching weirdly shares article on cutting ties with family members” and issue an apology for the post as set out in the letter of demand from the Prime Minister’s Office on 1 Sept, a writ of summons was served by PM Lee to Mr Xu on 5 Sep.
The writ of summons was sent with a statement of claim by Davinder Singh Chambers LLC on behalf of PM Lee, which alleged that the article contained statements that are false and baseless, and that it was intended disparage and impugn PM Lee as well as his office as the Prime Minister.
Mr Xu in his initial response to the demands by Mr Lee, maintained that “the contents of the article constitute fair comment”, as TOC was “merely republishing the words uttered by” PM Lee’s siblings Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee Wei Ling.
“I am of the opinion that the contents of the Article are not defamatory,” he added, particularly “in light of the public statements emanated from members of your own family, who, presumably, would have been privy to the events that the article refers to, and the issues of public interest that arise”.
However, he apologised for any possible misinterpretation that may arise from the article, in relation to the timing and reason behind Mr Lee’s removal as an executor in the will of the late Mr and Mrs Lee Kuan Yew.
Commenting further on the ongoing legal dispute between himself and PM Lee, Mr Xu who is self-represented said: “The Prime Minister has expressed through his press secretary to the media that he is willing to testify in court along with his siblings if the trial proceeds.
“I, therefore, look forward to meeting the Prime Minister in court,” he added.
The pre-trial conference is due to take place on 15 Oct at 9.30am.