SINGAPORE — No sight or sound on the criminal hearing for Karl Liew Kai Lung, the son of former Changi Airport Group chairman Liew Mun Leong after two years of being charged.
Liew was charged on 5 November 2020 for giving false evidence and false information to a public servant in former domestic worker Parti Liyani’s case.
In Pre-Trial Conference (PTC) in chambers on 7 October last year, the State Court granted an adjournment for Mr Karl to be subject to neuropsychological assessments at Raffles Hospital.
The appointments are said to be in late October and early November this year, with a report likely to be out in early December 2022.
He was to update the court in a PTC on 9 December last year.
Following the PTC on 9 December, another PTC was set on 20 January. However, since the conclusion of that PTC, there has been no update on the next hearing for Liew.
TOC has sent a query to the State Court on the update of the hearing, but no response has been received to date.
Charged for furnishing false information
On 4 November 2020, Singapore Police said that Mr Karl will be charged with two counts under Sections 177 and 193 of the Penal Code.
Section 177(a) and (b) stipulate that a person found guilty of furnishing false information to a public servant may be sentenced to a maximum imprisonment term of six months, or with a maximum fine of S$5,000, or both.
In any other case, they may be punished with a maximum fine of S$10,000.
Section 193 stipulates that a person found guilty of intentionally giving false evidence at any stage of a judicial proceeding or fabricating false evidence for the purpose of such may be sentenced to a maximum imprisonment term of seven years.
They may also be liable to a fine.
The police’s statement came shortly after Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam revealed in Parliament a day earlier that investigations into Mr Karl’s possible perjury and other criminal offences relating to Ms Parti’s case had been concluded.
Then delivering his ministerial statement on Ms Parti’s case in Parliament, Mr Shanmugam said that Mr Karl appeared to not be a credible witness and had given “inconsistent answers” in some instances.
“There are many aspects of Karl’s conduct and evidence … which are highly unsatisfactory, which raise scepticism, based on what he said at the trial,” he said.
Referencing the High Court’s observation on Mr Karl’s account of some of the allegedly stolen items such as a pink knife and an IKEA bedsheet which he claimed to have bought at Habitat in the UK, Mr Shanmugam said: “The High Court said this affected Karl’s credibility and his claim to ownership.”
The testimony of one of the Liews, he added, was also “at variance” or at odds with the evidence given by another Liew.
Mr Shanmugam also noted that the defence had also placed in articles on dumpster diving to suggest that certain expensive items such as branded handbags and jewellery are binned in Singapore.
“The argument is that Ms Liyani could have found, for example, the Prada bag and jewellery which (Mr Liew’s daughter) May says were hers, in the trash,” he added.
Mr Shanmugam told the House that investigations into whether Mr Karl had committed perjury or any criminal offence have been completed and that a statement on the outcome will be made later.
The appeal and acquittal of Ms Parti by the High Court
Ms Parti was sentenced to 26 months of imprisonment by District Judge Olivia Low on 25 Mar 2019 at the State Court over charges of stealing 114 items worth $50,856 belonging to Mr Liew, and three of his family members; his son and daughter-in-law, Mr Karl Liew and Ms Heather Lim Mei Ern, and his daughter, Ms Liew Cheng May.
She then filed an appeal against the conviction which was heard by Justice Chan Seng Onn. After three days of hearings between November 2019 to August 2020, Justice Chan ultimately overturned the convictions from the lower court as he finds them unsafe.
Matters which were disallowed in the state court hearing — such as Ms Parti’s MOM complaint — were introduced to the High Court hearing.
At the appeal hearing, the defence highlighted that Mr Karl’s testimony on the alleged stolen items were in contrast to what was heard in a video played in court of a conversation between him and his mother Ng Lai Peng, aka Mrs Liew.
Mrs Liew was heard making a remark on how “the karang guni man” had helped her to move the items in the boxes.
Mr Karl was also heard saying to Mrs Liew that she “cannot get the karang guni man” to the house as it is “still her things”.
This particular point was also noted by Justice Chan in his High Court judgement in September 2020, which overturned District Judge Olivia Low’s conviction and sentencing of Ms Parti.
“As captured in the Video, Mdm Ng’s initial reaction was not to salvage the items but to engage the help of the karang guni man to remove the items,” Justice Chan remarked.
He added that if the clothing items were stolen from Mr Karl, it would be expected for Mr Karl “to have claimed that they were his clothes” instead of stating that the items could not be moved because they were indeed Ms Parti’s items.
In his judgement, Justice Chan branded the Liew family as having “improper motives” against Ms Parti.
The “improper motives” revolved around Mr Liew and his son Karl Liew’s plans to lodge a police report against her to stop her from notifying MOM regarding the cleaning work she was made to do at Mr Karl’s home at 39 Chancery Lane and his office at Killiney Road.
The judge also stressed that the prosecution had failed to demonstrate that there was no improper motive by Mr Liew and Mr Karl in making the police report against Ms Parti “just two days” after she made an expressed threat to alert the MOM about her illegal deployment to the latter’s residence and office.
Read: District Judge, DPP prevented defence counsel from questioning CAG chairman’s son’s credibility as witness | The case of Parti Liyani: All you need to know
Update as of 2 Feb 2023, 10:03 PM: The PTC for Karl Liew has been set to 10 February