Blogger Roy Ngerng, who was found to have defamed Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong last November, was ordered by a court to pay Mr Lee S$29,000 for legal fees and related expenses.
In response to media queries, Ms Chang Li Lin, the Press Secretary to PM Lee, issued the following statement on Monday (Jan 12):
“At the hearing today, the Judge ordered that the total costs to be paid by the Defendant to the Plaintiff be fixed at $29,000. This amount is for the legal fees and related expenses incurred up to the conclusion of the application for summary judgement. The dates for the subsequent hearings are not confirmed.
“Mr Ngerng’s lawyer indicated at the hearing that Mr Ngerng did not want to be cross-examined. The judge directed his lawyer to confirm whether he would be giving evidence by 30 January 2015. PM Lee stands ready to be cross-examined, a position he has earlier communicated to the Court”.
Channel NewsAsia understands that Mr Lee had asked for S$40,000; Ngerng’s lawyers had offered S$10,000 to S$13,000.
The Prime Minister filed the defamation suit against Ngerng in May last year. The suit arose from a blog post by Ngerng that same month titled “Where Your CPF Money Is Going: Learning From The City Harvest Trial”, which alleged that CPF monies had been misappropriated.
In November, a judge ruled that Ngerng had defamed Mr Lee with his posts. The blogger was ordered to be restrained from publishing or disseminating the allegation that Mr Lee is guilty of criminal misappropriation of the monies paid by Singaporeans to the Central Provident Fund, or any words and/or images to the same effect.