The High Court judgment which acquitted Indonesian former domestic worker Parti Liyani of four charges of theft cast doubts on the evidence given by members of the Liew family.
Mr Liew, who was Ms Parti’s employer for eight years, had accused her of stealing items from him and members of his family, including jewellery from his daughter Liew Chen May.
With regards to the assorted jewellery and accessories that Ms Parti allegedly stole from Ms May, High Court judge Justice Chan Seng Onn noted that Ms May said she last saw the items in a drawer in her bedroom in 2004 before leaving Singapore for the United States and that she did not discard them.
Ms May also said that she only realised that the items were not in her possession when she called down to the police station to identify the items in 2017.
Justice Chan observed that “it is quite remarkable to say that May could have paid so much attention to so many of the items in the drawer and could remember at the police station, some 13 years later, of having seen each and every one of these items of assorted jewellery and fashion accessories in the drawer (amongst possibly many other items) way back in 2004 and therefore claim that all the items belonged to her”.
Ms Parti, on the other hand, said in her defence that she found all the jewellery items and accessories in Ms May’s trash can sometime in 2011 or 2012.
This is with the exception of a pair of pearl hook earrings which she bought from Taka Jewellery in 2011 and a single earring she purchased from Lucky Plaza in 2010.
Given that Ms May was “not able to give an account for the provenance of the items”, Justice Chan said:
“On balance, there is good reason to prefer Parti’s evidence that she had purchased the pearl hook earrings (P1-33) and the single earring (P1-38), which was originally in a pair and these items did not belong to May, contrary to what May had claimed.”
He went on: “This in turn casts doubt on whether May was telling the truth with respect to her claim that she had not discarded the other items, which Parti said was retrieved from May’s rubbish bin.”
On this, Mrs Liew had testified that Ms May’s room was cleared out sometimes in 2012 to make room for her son, Karl Liew and his family.
Ms May, however, did not mention this cleaning exercise in her testimony, which Justice Chan says is “highly telling of her lack of credibility”.
He further pointed out that between the time Ms May returned to Singapore in 2010 and when she moved out of the family home in 2011, she never realised the items were missing.
“This points to a reasonable possibility that May had indeed disclaimed possession of the assorted jewellery and fashion accessories since she did not notice that they were missing during that period of time when she stayed at 49 CL,” said Justice Chan.
On top of that, Ms May even testified that even before Ms Parti was terminated, she was “slightly discouraging” of the intention to file a police report against Ms Parti as she didn’t believe that Ms Parti stole these items from them.
Not only that, these items were added to the list of allegedly stolen items only later on.
“I observe that the FIR did not include the assorted jewellery and fashion accessories as part of the list of items that Parti allegedly had stolen. These assorted jewellery and fashion accessories had been belatedly added as items that Parti allegedly had stolen,” said Justice Chan.