PM Lee Hsien Loong will testify in court if defamation suit against TOC editor goes to trial

SINGAPORE – Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will testify in court if his defamation suit against the chief editor of sociopolitical site The Online Citizen (TOC) goes to trial.

In a statement on Tuesday night (Sept 10), PM Lee’s press secretary Chang Li Lin said the Prime Minister filed a suit against Mr Terry Xu because the allegations contained in an Aug 15 article published by TOC are “completely false”.

“His siblings can decide, together with Mr Xu, whether they too will testify, and repeat the allegations in court,” she said, referring to PM Lee’s younger siblings Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Wei Ling.

“The court can then establish the facts,” she added.

PM Lee is suing Mr Xu for defamation over the article and a Facebook post, which his lawyers said contained “false and baseless” allegations, including that the PM had misled his father, the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, into thinking their Oxley Road home had been gazetted by the Government.

Lawyers from Davinder Singh Chambers had served Mr Xu, 37, the writ of summons and statement of claim at his home in Choa Chu Kang on Sept 5.

In court documents seen by The Straits Times, the lawyers charged that PM Lee has suffered loss and damage, and has been “brought into public scandal, odium and contempt”.

The TOC article was titled “PM Lee’s wife, Ho Ching weirdly shares article on cutting ties with family members”.

It had referenced a Facebook post made by PM Lee’s sister, Dr Lee Wei Ling, in which she set out a purported sequence of events related to the 38 Oxley Road property.

On Sept 1, Mr Xu received a letter of demand from Ms Chang to remove the offending article and Facebook post by Sept 4.

He had not taken down the Facebook post by the deadline.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Mr Xu said he filed  a memorandum of appearance with the High Court, to indicate he will contest the suit brought by PM Lee.

He added that he has decided to represent himself in court and will have to file his defence for the case within 14 days.

A pre-trial conference has been set on Oct 15.

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