It was not Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam who had lodged a complaint about allegedly being defamed — rather, it was the police who had filed a report on the matter, said lawyer M Ravi on Tuesday (17 November).
Mr Ravi’s statement was made in relation to police investigations against him over alleged criminal defamation.
The offending material pertains to Mr Ravi’s claims in a Facebook post on 6 November, which alleged that lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam had told him that Mr Shanmugam had said he “wields influence over the Chief Justice” and “calls the shot and controlls (sic) Sundaresh Menon”.
Mr Ravi in a Facebook post today said that he had found out during a police interview at Cantonment Police Complex that Tan Lian Heng, the investigating officer in the immediate case, had made the First Information Report “on the instruction of Kelvin Kwok”.
Mr Kwok is the Deputy Head of the Singapore Police Force’s Criminal Investigation Department.
“I told the police that the police can’t assume Shanmugam is defamed since they confirmed that Shanmugam did not complain to them.
“I also asked if they interviewed Shanmugam, IO Tan said he did not. I wanted to find out if IO Tan had spoken to Shanmugam before he deemed it fit to lodge a police report,” said Mr Ravi.
Mr Ravi explained that to determine if defamation had taken place, the feelings of the person who had allegedly been defamed “must have been wounded and one must feel that his reputation has been lowered”.
“Just like outrage of modesty cases, the victim must complain that one is outraged, the police can’t feel outraged on the account of the victim. Otherwise the police are abusing their powers,” he added.
Mr Ravi said that he is “ready to question” Mr Shanmugam, Mr Thuraisingam and the Police Commissioner in the lawsuit he had filed against the Commissioner.
He also sued mainstream media outlets The Straits Times and TODAY for allegedly failing to confirm with him as to whether he had really been “hauled up for investigations” before reporting on the matter.
“I also joked with IO Tan and IO Joelyn, telling them that I understand their predicament as they seem to be really nice persons,” Mr Ravi quipped.
In its statement on 7 November, the police said that the investigations the Public Prosecutor has issued an order pursuant to Section 16(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code for the Police to investigate into the offence.
The police added that Mr Thuraisingam wrote a letter to Mr Shanmugam the day before, in which Mr Thuraisingam said that “[t]here is absolutely no truth whatsoever” to Mr Ravi’s allegations”.
He also posted on Facebook a copy of the letter alongside screenshots of Mr Ravi’s Facebook posts on the issue which contained the allegedly untrue claims.
Mr Thuraisingam added that Mr Ravi had made similar allegations in a Facebook post on 12 June 2017.
He similarly reportedly clarified with Mr Shanmugam the next day that Mr Ravi’s allegations were false.
Police said in its statement earlier this month that no action was taken in relation to the 2017 incident.
In a separate Facebook post prior to the interview today, Mr Ravi questioned as to why Mr Thuraisingam had published the letter to Mr Shanmugam now instead of three years ago when he purportedly wrote a similar letter to the Law Minister.
He also asked why the police are conducting investigations on the alleged criminal defamation now and not in 2017.
The above matters, said Mr Ravi, is “a matter of public interest”.
Explaining his decision to commence proceedings against the mainstream media outlets, Mr Ravi said in a Facebook post last week that the “half truths” purportedly published in the reports constitute “a very serious libel” against him and “disparages me and impugns my character and integrity among the ordinary person”.
Mr Ravi had earlier issued a letter of demand to the Singapore Police Force for an explanation as to its “motive” in “informing the media about an investigation against me which I have not been informed or interviewed”.