Criminal Defamation and STR

Though the case against STR concerns criminal defamation, this article that appeared in ST last year contains some relevant discussions on the common law principle that government cannot sue on defamation.If this principle were to be true, it is certainly arguable that it should apply to s499 of the Penal Code (criminal defamation) as well when reading it with Article 14 of the Singapore constitution that gurantees freedom of expression. The article deals with the case of blogger Han Hui Hui whom I represented when she was sued by a government body:

“In Britain, Derbyshire County Council v Times Newspapers Ltd (1993) laid down the principle in common law that a public body is barred from suing a citizen for defamation because this would discourage free speech.

In Goh Chok Tong v Jeyaretnam , the Singapore High Court referred in its ruling to “the question whether Singapore law, being premised on English common law, should follow suit” to adopt the Derbyshire principle. But since the case involved a politician and not a public body suing an individual, the High Court left it to the Court of Appeal to deal with the issue if and when a public body should ever sue a citizen.

As Mr M.Ravi, the blogger’s lawyer noted, the Derbyshire principle is accepted in other common law nations like Canada, Australia, India and Malaysia.

In a clutch of cases, local courts have also cited the principle in passing, with seeming approval, albeit only to contrast it with the individual public servant’s right to sue for defamation.

Still, these cases suggested to Prof Chen that local courts may rule that the principle does apply in Singapore. One example is Tang Liang Hong v Lee Kuan Yew in which the Court of Appeal rejected the argument that Derbyshire implied individual public officers may not sue for defamation, noting it only restricted the right of public bodies to do so.”

http://www.asiaone.com/can-public-body-sue-defamation?amp

 

 

* Facebook post by M Ravi.

 

 

 

 

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26 Responses to “Criminal Defamation and STR”

  • LawMinister is a SHAM:

    Yep but since when has this ruling party held the rule of law in high regard.
    2 sets of laws in our sg.
    You know and i know.

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  • Where r the heros?:

    Papist MP n ministers love Facebook to tell their stories. Chan Chun Sings about his pre PM power to threatens Singaporeans that he has no problem to import foreign Pmets to replace SIN Pmets. PM current used it to talk about his siblings accusation. KHaw used it to be one up on daft singaporeans of his knowledge of medical charges as a Minister of Health that he paid $8 for his heart surgery and hospitalization in first class ward plus all medicines while Heng thru his spokeman claimed that he paid like what ordinary citizens paid for his heart attack hospitalization which would mean in the order of $30000 and above which is about 4000x x that is paid by Khaw. The government does not come out and tell the citizens which one is fake and if it is fake news by the minister, how should he be dealt with for lying ie fake news?

    The LHL/LWL accusation was dealt with not in accordance to what the 3 PMs (LKY< GCT and LHL himself) have said in no uncertain terms that such accusation tantamount to defamation should be dealt with in the Court of Laws but in this case LHL used the Parliament to speak is side of the story with PAP Mps ya ya ya wanyang around it and WP MPs blabbed with response amounting to a joy ride with nothing substantive as some seniors have said that they have the total mandate and can do what they want.

    Before PAP could apply the same tactics on a foreign media or popular website, it should ask itself the loopholes the defence lawyers could use to discredit its application of the laws like in the case of Amos defying its integrity in signing the UN Charter for the protection of the youngs from political persecution which has drawn considerable awareness among the citizens of how PAP values the international image of the Nation with its signatory without the will to honour what they signed.

    Many seniors are wondering whether the young PAP generation has the guts to deal with Facebook as their predecessors dealt with Far Eastern Review and New York Times. They r waiting to see what caliber is the 4th generation they are boasting about. Will they be arrogant specie stupidi or head-shrinking tortoise species which only pops its head when it feels it is safe to do so. Singlish dubs it as kia su kia si while the psychologists cat it as homo moronus with of course no substance but impregnated with deep fear of exposure of inadequacy stuffed with lies. Seniors wonder n wait to see how the arrogant 4th generation of papies would deal with Facebook which they rely considerably to trumpet their propaganda including the no degree shit and no degree ministers soon. Perhaps they will have to get plp ST to vet real fake as the Sham chairman of real-fake committee has sworn it to be the only official source and master of real-fakes?

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  • Justice can see in the dark:

    They cannot surpress the truth. Many Singaporeans follow the 1mdb story and have long suspected the country’s involvement laundering the money.

    How else do you think Malaysia lost Tanjong Pagar? Why was Najib so ‘nice’ to Singapore when he was PM? Only brainwashed sheep will believe we had no part to play in 1mdb.

    It’s not easy to ‘clean’ that amount of cash in Singapore without the authorities knowing.

    Just like how Malaysians found out about Rosmah’s Ambank account. Suspicious transactions have to be reported to the relevant “authority”.

    https://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2016-03-29/najib-razak-bank-accounts-triggered-money-laundering-alert/7280244

    Plus, don’t forget who the hidden hand was in the whole saga…….

    http://www.theedgemarkets.com/article/hidden-hands-spin-and-truth-get-your-24page-1mdb-special-here

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  • HarderTruths:

    Did you expect otherwise?

    I can tell you that ‘You ain’t seen nothin yet”

    Wait for even more draconian laws coming our way.

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  • Boh Kia See:

    It is my belief that the Law Minister is not conversant with the law of the country. This is not the first time either.

    But he is the designated hatchet man for the PAP tasked with defending the Lee name. That is why he is in that position. Does not seem to know about the role and objective of Select Committees either.

    The Clown has his longtime friend and lawyer as AG to keep an eye on things as, without the AG’s go-ahead, no suing can take place. So here is another seat warmer taking home millions of taxpayer funds.

    So citizens have a choice when the election rolls around. I think the next election will be complete with drama and cheating as well.

    The PAP came to power through deceit. Dr. Thum has chronicled the history of dead trait*r’s deceit. So don’t expect the PAP to be lily white at any time.

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  • No more trust:

    These 2 words, ‘fake news’ is their almighty weapon lately!

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  • oxygen:

    I THOUGHT IT IS STUNNINGLY AMAZING that Facebook refused a take-down demand from the Government.

    Facebook refuses Singapore request to remove post after critical website blocked

    https://www.msn.com/en-sg/news/world/facebook-refuses-singapore-request-to-remove-post-after-critical-website-blocked/ar-BBPxjWv?li=BBr8Cnr

    If the weblink above it correct of publishing, it means Facebook is in the same legal position as STR – forcing Singapore to take same legal action against them on the grounds of its alleged claims against STR and Alex Tan to succeed.

    Surely, it makes no sense of law logic if the same conduct is an alleged offence in one instance and yet at the same time innocent of “wrong-doing” allegedly committed by another different party.

    It would be interesting to see how the Australian law handles this matter if Singapore hires legal services in Australia given the common law application already quoted by M. Ravi.

    Does or will Alex Tan provide a legal address in Australia to receive law paper notice – unlike LSW who,in another different instance, was ambushed in his lecture moment? Remember this is internet publishing of cyber law accross different legal jurisdiction, so will the OZ court hear the claims or simply threw them out in the first appearance?

    Amos Yee and another dissident in USA might stir the pot further, so where does the ball game end – unless Singapore wants to sue each and every dissident abroad one after another and each time clashing with Facebook, web browser (for publishing what Singapore calls “prohibited content”) UK & Commonwealth law, USA?

    It should be very interesting showbiz theatre at least, once the proceedings commences!!

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  • KNN:

    Firstly govt can always get a senior civil servant to file the police report.

    Ppl forget that PAPies know S’pore laws inside & out.

    Secondly, by using criminal defamation instead of the more usual civil defamation … If the court finds him guilty, then S’pore can request Australia to extradite him back here as it becomes a criminal / penal code case.

    Once he is back in S’pore, not only will he face jail, but PAPies can then initiate civil defamation to sue him until pants drop for the next 5 generations.

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  • Bapak:

    All animals are equal. But some are more equal – Animal Farm.

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  • Bystander:

    Alex Tan has an axe to grind with PAP Govt.
    Facebook refuses to bring down “defamatory article”, so up to Alex to take his own action.
    Ok to do it himself, but he’s in Australia, probably an Aussie PR or citizen already, as long as he’s out of Singapore, what can Pappies do?
    Dun have to come back to tiny Singapore, right?
    Later can put up article again, again and again, what can Pappies do, right?
    Bullies can’t win if the bullied is outside.

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  • N.Jungne:

    Why is he so quiet? And someone behaved like “chacheng kena penas?” Aiyoyo

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  • Bapak:

    He is lucky he is in Australia. Otherwise, kena jialat jialat like Amos. You can’t say bad things about Kim Jung Un.

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  • rukidding:

    We are ..or were …supposed to be “Dafts” right ?

    This is China Version 2.0,…One cuntry, Two systems !

    Why ????

    Because we “chose” to be “ruled” by Pimps and prostitutes (P.a.p.) ( Ezkiel )

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  • Boh Kia See:

    On a totally different topic, I see that some of the old faces on the PAP CEC are being removed.

    I think the way is made clear for Ho Jinx to occupy the DPM’s position. That was the issue that baffled Lim Tean.

    Ho Jinx is slowly being introduced into the public arena first through the Woody Goh’s book and her public appearance during a function with the Chinese Foreign Minister.

    So the stage is set—we will watch and see how the drama unfolds.

    There are just too many secrets that the PAP cannot afford to reveal, so too much to lose.

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  • No no:

    First they suppressed free press, now they suppress free internet…

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  • People must Fight 4 power:

    No ruler will give the people power to overthrow.

    No ruler willing to be held accountable or responsible.

    No ruler what’s to be criticised or blamed.

    Only the People can Fight for this power themselves.
    This is why Asia is authoritarian ruled and not democracy. Asians kowtow to power about of self preservation.

    Just threaten them. They will kowtow. Proven.

    This is why they say Everything is Boh Bian.

    To have democracy, there must be People Power . This power is not Given to the people.
    The gov has absolute power. This means people has no power.

    The people is weak. To have Power, the People must Fight. This means lives may even have to be sacrificed.

    Without sacrifice the People will forever have no Power because power is not Given

    Alex Tan, JBJ , DR CHEE, TEO SOH LUNG , ROY NERGN , LIM TEAN ETC.

    THEY show that sg has hope but barely.
    . Singaporeans are too easily intimidated. Ruled by law.

    This is why the only way they will find courage is when pushed to the wall.
    Many have died still covering their mouths with their hands . They rather die than speak honestly.

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  • bgkl:

    oxygen:
    I THOUGHT IT IS STUNNINGLY AMAZING that Facebook refused a take-down demand from the Government.

    Why in god’s heavens would Facebook take down STR post when those farking assholes in white wrote tons and tons of self-praising rubbish on its platform? They think they farking own it? Buy out Zuckerberg lah chiibai!

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  • LIONS:

    One CUNTRY,2 SYSTEMS,ONE FOR PIG$ AS TWO LEGS GOOD.
    ONE FOR HUMANS WHO SEEMS SO DAFT N KEEP ROOTING FOR US,PIG$,GE after GE.

    WE,PIG$,still expect to win next GE as 70 pct of you,HUMANS,simply love getting farked hard!

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  • Tommy Koh sat in UN:

    Tommy Koh was a popular quote among University of Singapore (SU), NUS law graduates to be a brilliant law student to be awarded the first First Class Honour in Law from SU. He was also a outsoken political critic during his undergraduate days n continued to be so after graduation as an avid contributor to the Newpaper which was outlawed while TK was recruited by LKY n appointed as UN representative. As such, Tommy reduced himself to be a defender of LKY policy n whatever he did in Singapore including what Ravi has said in his article.

    Being a brilliant man in laws, he must also understand the legal argument of adverse effect on the freedom of individual n press freedom when government or personnel in particular cabinet ministers suing political crtics over their policy n shrewdly interpreted as defamation of the government n its officer. When Amos was handcuffed n legs chained but without completing it with hugh metal balls n brought to Court before the Presiding Magistrate and charges read out including one perceiving by the general public to be the main reason for his appearance in court whic was referring LKY ss the horrible man … was dead n gone in his Facebook. Tommy Koh must have been aware of the UN Charter on the Protection of young from persecution on political criticism n more amazing was even the Presiding Judge, AGC prosecuter n the defending Council were all unaware of such Charter with the signatory of PAP government representative. Tommy remained soildly dumb n silence all thru Amos ordeal. What have happen to professionalism, integrity, human dignity in Singapore even till today?

    LHY/LHL becos of their own problem came out n speak their mind. LHL n the Govt didn’t publicly defend against their accusation which is publicly perceived to be more serious than all what past accusation. Despite of not legally persued, LHL self exiled with his family while his son remained in Harvard despite of being called back to face charges on his cyber posting by the AGC. Till today, AGC didn’t managed to get him back.

    Why then all the kpkb when those with the professional khowhow remain mouth trapped n sense of justice blurred. Yes what happens to professionalism n ethics of all learned men n their integrity, human dignity n human values in the little red dot. It was once a proud nation with highly regarded Citizens even though it is a little red dot.

    How can there be nation pride when it leader told the internation media that its citizens r daft, that they have no problem to import foreigners to replace the citizens, that the young r urge not to do their best for there will be minister paid multimillions but have no professional training or university education. LHL named possible successor Chan Chun Sing has arrogantly posted in…

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  • Tommy Koh sat in UN 2:

    that he has no problem to import foreigners to replace citizen Pmets suggesting that he has no problem to import foreigners even to fill the Cabinet.

    R Singaporeans really so daft to have these traitors continue to sell off the nation!

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  • Hawking Eye:

    A gentleman and brainy, he knows where his bread is buttered. He will talk and write well on general matters of public interest. But when it comes to controversial issues emanating from the powers-be, he will hold back – no different from Ho Kwan Ping. That is why they are stable and prosperous.

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  • Small state Authoritarianism:

    Outside of Singapore, pap has little control or power.

    Case in point, FB says no to pap gov.

    Maybe they should respond with “hee hee , BOH BIAN lor” . Uniquely Singapore!

    My point is to bring them down , must use external power. The domestic market is fully domesticated, as it were.

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  • Authoritarian Sperm:

    No no:
    First they suppressed free press, now they suppress free internet…

    Democracy never existed in Asia because the People in whole Asia has never ever been given official power. Democracy is just a concept in asia. No ruler gives it’s people power.

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  • Longan Lee Lim Peh:

    Only external forces can defeat papaya and this is proven by fb rejecting request b y the authoritarian gov.

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  • PUTHUCHEARY AVOIDED NS:

    “Still, these cases suggested to Prof Chen that local courts may rule that the principle does apply in Singapore.”:

    Who’s Prof Chen? No prior mention before this sentence.

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  • if not, Change d Law. . .:

    > “Still, these cases suggested to Prof Chen that local courts may rule that the principle does apply in Singapore.”
    -
    The AristoCATs “govern” on simple way –
    If the law, cant be used against STR . . .
    Papaya will introduce a “tweak” their way :(
    -
    As some say,
    Heads, Papaya wins – Tails, they lose :( :(

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