Former domestic worker Parti Liyani has been given two weeks to decide if she wants to go forward with her application to begin disciplinary proceedings against the two deputy public prosecutors (DPP)—Tan Wee Hao and Tan Yanying—who conducted her trial for theft.
She had filed this application back in June, before the High Court acquitted her of all charges on her appeal.
According to the Straits Times, Ms Parti had filed a notice to discontinue the proceeding against the two public prosecutors on 29 September.
On 1 October, Ms Parti’s lawyer, Mr Anil Balchandani, told the chief justice in a chambers hearing that she is “overwhelmed by the events of the past month”.
In oral grounds released by the court, Chief Justice Menon noted that Mr Balchandani also drew the court’s attention to the fact that Ms Parti has not been home to Indonesia in four years since this entire saga begun and that she is naturally eager to return as soon as possible.
“This, Mr Balchandani explained, is one of the reasons she had initially considered withdrawing the originating summons seeking an order from me directing that the matters alleged against the DPPs in question be referred to a disciplinary tribunal for investigation,” he added.
Even so, Ms Parti is said to be “somewhat torn” because she still believes that the DPPs should answer to the allegations she has made against them in her affidavit, on their conduct of her case.
Counsel for the Attorney-General’s Chambers, Kristy Tan, said during the hearing that the DPPs would not object to the matter being referred to the disciplinary tribunal for investigation, should the Chief Justice decide to do so, as that would give them the chance to tell their side of the story and give their full explanations.
Following the hearing, the AGC said in a statement that the two DPPs “welcome the chance to present a full and transparent account of what transpired during the trial” and “will cooperate fully in any inquiry”.
Ms Parti’s lawyer had filed an amended version of the complaint and sought for leave to be granted by the Chief Justice for an investigation to be carried out into the misconduct complaint against the DPPs.
One of the issues raised by the High Court in Ms Parti’s appeal was related to an incomplete demonstration by the DPPs of a DVD player during the trial. The DVD player as among the items Ms Parti was accused of stealing, however she argued that the family allowed her to have it owing to the fact that it was damaged.
During the trial, the prosecutors presented the DVD player to Ms Parti and showed that it could play a video stored in a hard disk. However, on appeal, it was shown that the player could not play DVDs.
Justice Chan in the High Court said that if the prosecution was aware of this defect, it should have disclosed it. Otherwise, the trial court might have been misled into thinking that the player was in good working conditions when Ms Parti was questioned about it.
Parti Liyani case
Ms Parti was convicted in the District Court in March 2019 of stealing S$34,000 worth of items from the family of her former employer, former Changi Airport Group Chairman Liew Mun Leong, and was sentenced to 26 months in jail.
On appeal, the conviction was overturned as the High Court Judge found that Mr Liew and his son, Karl Liew’s actions demonstrated “improper motives” in terminating Ms Parti’s employment and making the police report against her. He also highlighted the handling of evidence in the case as point in supporting the acquittal.
In his judgement, Justice Chan Seng Onn wrote in conclusion:
I first observe that in the present case, which involved a voluminous number of items, the proper handling of the evidence by the police and recording of the allegedly stolen items is crucial in order to preserve the chain of custody of the items. Coupled with the existence of an improper motive by members of the Liew family for mounting the allegations against Parti, I find that the convictions against Parti are unsafe and accordingly acquit her of all the charges.
This case has caught international attention with even South China Morning Post’s senior Asia correspondent Bhavan Jaipragas tweeting about the internal review.
#Singapore: The internal review in the AGC of Parti Liyani's case is led by Deputy AG Hri Kumar Nair.
At the same time, Hri is one of the 3 names the AGC has put up to intervene in Parti's ex-parte application for a court inquiry of prosecutors' conduct. https://t.co/0qPCTPNndJ
— Bhavan Jaipragas 八万 (@jbhavan) October 1, 2020