Son of former Changi Airport Group chairman pleaded guilty to giving false evidence in case of Parti Liyani

Son of former Changi Airport Group chairman pleaded guilty to giving false evidence in case of Parti Liyani

SINGAPORE — Karl Liew Kai Lung, the son of former Changi Airport Group chairman Liew Mun Leong has pleaded guilty to lying to the judge in the case of migrant domestic worker Parti Liyani at the State Court this morning (30 Mar).

Karl pleaded guilty to one charge of intentionally giving false evidence in July 2018, claiming that a cream polo T-shirt and red blouse belonged to him during the trial of his family’s former domestic worker under Section 182 of the Penal Code.

Additionally, he is accused of making a false statement to a police officer at his home on December 10, 2016, indicating that he had discovered “119 pieces of clothing” in boxes packed by Ms Parti, which he claimed were his own. This was taken into consideration for sentencing.

The Liew family had accused Ms Parti of stealing items from the family after she was dismissed as their domestic worker in 2016.

During the trial against Ms Parti, Karl claimed that a red blouse and a polo T-shirt belonged to him and maintained this position when questioned by Ms Parti’s counsel, Mr Anil Balchandani.

Both the prosecution and Karl’s lawyer asked for the maximum fine of S$5,000 for Karl.

Karl’s lawyer has told the court that Karl was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at the age of 41, before giving his testimony in the trial.

In Pre-Trial Conference (PTC) in chambers on 7 October last year, the State Court granted an adjournment for Karl to be subject to neuropsychological assessments at Raffles Hospital. It is unknown what were the results of the assessments.

The judge said he needed time to consider the case and adjourned the sentencing to 14 April.

Charged for furnishing false information

On 4 November 2020, Singapore Police said that Karl would 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 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 Karl appeared not to 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 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 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, Karl 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 Karl’s testimony on the alleged stolen items was 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.

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 Karl, it would be expected for 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 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 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

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