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Thread: Reasons behind a legal suit

  1. #1
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    Default Reasons behind a legal suit

    I saw this comment by forummer tanwahp and thought it was worth a separate discussion. My sense is that people have a tendency to come to an erroneous conclusion when such letter of demands are issued and when a withdrawal of comments made and an apology follows.

    Here are the 3 forms of perceptions that seem to arise

    1. The content is actually wrong.
    2. The apology is an admission of an error
    3. The person's standing diminishes or is considered an "irresponsible" individual.


    Compared to the US system (for once) the British/Commonwealth legal framework for libel, slander and all those fall within the defamation framework is quite onerous. It also favours those with deep pockets. Interpretation by the courts both of what the content means and the extent of damage to reputation done to determine the amount to be awarded is no different to punting at Kranji. It is a flawed system. It also explains why Lance Armstrong sued journalist or issued legal letters in the UK but not in the US.

    There is also the famous case of a journalist in the UK which I will refer to in the next post.



    tanwahp
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    Re: [Breaking News] PM Lee wants to sue Alex Au over blog posts about AIM!
    Rightly or wrongly, it's the 3rd time Alex Au was slapped by a legal letter. One was to K Shanmugam for his "affair" and one to AGC on the Waffles Wu case.

    I suggest he starts blogging anonymously. It is a disadvantage to be open about your identity, and it also does not look good to have to keep apologizing and make yourself look like an irresponsible blogger.

    Look at Real Singaporean team which snubbed Davinder's request to reveal their identifies.
    Last edited by scroobal; 04-01-2013 at 09:25 AM.

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    Default Re: Reasons behind a legal suit

    Here is a well known British case where the public fury from the legal suit was so great that over 500 complaints were lodged within 24 hrs and the bunch of quacks got a mighty shock. It also led to both the govt of the day and the opposition promising libel reforms.

    More details on the case here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BCA_v._Singh


    Main article: BCA v. Singh
    In 2008, Singh was unsuccessfully sued for libel by the British Chiropractic Association for criticising their activities in a column in The Guardian.[19] A "furious backlash"[20] to the lawsuit resulted in the filing of formal complaints of false advertising against more than 500 individual chiropractors within one 24 hour period, with one national chiropractic organisation ordering its members to take down their websites,[21] and Nature Medicine noting that the case had gathered wide support for Singh, as well as prompting calls for the reform of English libel laws.[22] On 1 April 2010, Simon Singh won his court appeal for the right to rely on the defence of fair comment.[23] On 15 April 2010, the BCA officially withdrew its lawsuit, ending the case.[24]
    In 19 April 2008, The Guardian published Singh's column "Beware the Spinal Trap",[25][26] an article that was critical of the practice of chiropractic and which resulted in Singh being sued for libel by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA). When the case was first brought against him, The Guardian supported him and funded his legal advice, as well as offering to pay the BCA's legal costs in an out-of-court settlement if Singh chose to settle.[27]
    The article developed the theme of the book that Singh and Edzard Ernst had just published, Trick or Treatment? Alternative Medicine on Trial, and made various statements about the lack of usefulness of chiropractic "for such problems as ear infections and infant colic":
    You might think that modern chiropractors restrict themselves to treating back problems, but in fact they still possess some quite wacky ideas. The fundamentalists argue that they can cure anything. And even the more moderate chiropractors have ideas above their station. The British Chiropractic Association claims that their members can help treat children with colic, sleeping and feeding problems, frequent ear infections, asthma and prolonged crying, even though there is not a jot of evidence. This organisation is the respectable face of the chiropractic profession and yet it happily promotes bogus treatments.[25]
    The case was eventually abandoned by BCA, though leaving Singh out of pocket to the tune of some tens of thousands of pounds, but while it lasted it acted as a catalyst and focus for libel reform campaigners resulting in all major parties in the 2010 UK General Election making manifesto commitments to libel reform.[1]

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    Default Re: Reasons behind a legal suit

    This the article in question. A contract has been awarded to $2 company with no track record of doing anything. Do you think that it is fair comment?


    PAP mis-AIMed, faces blowback
    Published 21 December 2012 politics and government 160 Comments
    I am a little surprised the story about town council computer and financial systems is not getting as much traction as I think it deserves. Perhaps with the Michael Palmer affair, workers going on strike and climbing cranes, and now a school principal being investigated for corruption, it just got buried by more attention-grabbing news.

    However, my sense is that this has the potential to be a big story, causing enormous damage to the People’s Action Party (PAP). Possibly too, the Workers’ Party knows more than they are revealing.

    From what has been disclosed so far, it shows the PAP to be a party that is determined to leave a trail of destruction, crippling the state if need be — to hell with the citizens! — should it be forced to leave power. It is contrary to the spirit of democracy and any shred of good governance.

    It began with the government trying to be too smart for its own good. The Ministry of National Development said, in its latest Town Council Management Review, that Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) got a red score — the worst band — over its management of arrears of service and conservancy charges. Its score for corporate governance was shown in the review as “pending”, with the explanation that “Aljunied-Hougang TC has yet to submit their auditor’s Management Letter, which is material to the banding of the corporate governance indicator”. Everyone knew what the message was: that the Workers’ Party, which runs AHTC, is incompetent. Many in the PAP must have been gleeful for the chance to take this potshot at the Workers’ Party.

    On 14 December 2012, Sylvia Lim, chair of AHTC — she is also chair of the Workers’ Party — issued a statement that attributed difficulties faced by ATHC to the sudden withdrawal of the provider of computer and financial systems just after the party took over the running of the town council. She said:

    After the [general election] in May 2011, the Town Council was served with a notice that the Town Council’s Computer and Financial Systems will be terminated with effect from 1 August 2011 due to material changes to the membership of the Town Council. This Computer and Financial Systems had been developed jointly by the 14 PAP Town Councils over a period of more than 15 months but was in January 2011 sold to and leased back from M/s Action Information Management Pte Ltd, a company which was dormant. This effectively meant that ATHC had to develop its own equivalent systems, in particular a Financial System, within a 2 months’ timeframe.

    http://www.ahtc.org.sg/ahtc/wp-conte...ia-Release.pdf

    A few days later Action Information Management (AIM) tried to defend itself by saying that it would have continued to extend the lease of the systems to the town council if WP had asked for it.

    But yesterday, AIM’s chairman S. Chandra Das said in a letter to The Straits Times: “If AHTC had asked for a longer extension, AIM would have similarly agreed. However, after the second extension, AHTC did not ask for further extension.”

    The first extension was until Aug 31 and the next, until Sept 9, added Mr Chandra Das.

    Last night, Ms Lim said the first extension was achieved through an intermediary, who said the extra month had to be “fought for”.

    She said: “We were certainly not given to understand that there could be any extension after this.”

    – Straits Times, 18 Dec 2012, WP, computer firm argue over lease

    The name Chandra Das would ring a bell: he was a former PAP member of parliament. In fact, it was soon revealed that AIM”s three directors were all former PAP MPs: Chandra Das, Chew Heng Ching and Lau Ping Sum.

    Then — I think it was TR Emeritus which broke the story — it was revealed that AIM had a paid-up capital of only $2. Chandra Das and Lau each owned one share (of $1). The company’s registered office (at 36 Robinson Road #17-01, City House, Singapore 068877) was also a shell office.

    As Sylvia Lim pointed out, the questions have to be: Why did the PAP Town Councils relinquish ownership of the computer and financial system, and how much did they sell it to AIM for? It was probably developed with taxpayer money by the 14 town councils, with much input and support from tax-payer-paid town council staff, unless — and it is hard to believe — the PAP paid for the development of the system.

    What is even more curious is that the service agreement with AIM allows AIM to terminate the contract with only one month’s notice should there be a material change to the composition of the town council. As Sylvia Lim asked: “How is it in the public interest to have such a thing?” (ibid).

    The carcass smells even worse than a week’s garbage lying in the hot sun.

    Any half-lucid observer will see it for what it is: an attempt by the PAP to plant booby-traps to snare opposition parties when they win a constituency and take over the town council. But they have done this in ways that raise troubling questions about the possibility of breach of trust.

    What price was it sold to AIM for? How was that price arrived at?
    Was there competitive tendering?
    In discharging their duty as town councillors, how is acting for partisan advantage in the best interest of the residents of the constituency? Shouldn’t they be acting to ensure the continuation of the town council systems?
    If a financial controller of a company created some mechanism that ensured that, upon his departure from the company, the financial system of the company would break down, would he not be prosecuted for criminal breach of trust?

    If, as they claim, our Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau and Attorney-General’s Chambers are independent institutions, we should expect them to mount an investigation immediately.

    Aljunied was a PAP ward before May 2011. I assume it was among the 14 PAP Town Councils that participated and paid for the development of the system. If so, there should be information in its accounts indicating how much its share of costs was. There should also be records in its minutes of meetings from before and around January 2011 pertaining to the sale of the system to AIM. Surely, PAP-run Aljunied would have been consulted and its agreement sought.

    This is why I think the Workers’ Party may know more than it is currently prepared to reveal.

    On the other hand, maybe the records were deleted before the handover. But if so, the question becomes: Wouldn’t such tampering of accounts and minutes of meetings be illegal?

    The PAP likes to cast itself as a party of scrupulous integrity. On this matter, they have a lot to answer for, or they’ll be seen as the opposite: foul and dirty. This is not a case which it can dismiss as the mistake of one lone PAP person; the moves they made involved nearly all PAP MPs in the town councils across the board.



    See also PAP mis-AIMed, faces blowback, part 2.

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    Default Re: Reasons behind a legal suit

    A contract, not a mere $140k computer contract mind you but management of the whole town council jurisdiction, has been awarded to a company which was formed immediately after winning the election. Do you think that is a fair comment?

    Quote Originally Posted by scroobal View Post
    This the article in question. A contract has been awarded to $2 company with no track record of doing anything. Do you think that it is fair comment?

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    Default Re: Reasons behind a legal suit

    This puts the ball at WP's feet. WP has Parlimentarty immunity in the form of their MPs and NMPs. Do they meekly keep quiet or do they take this up when Parliment sits. GMS comments about WP will be proven correct if they keep quiet.
    Sincere advice to PM Lee - You need to heal the PAP. The only way you can do this is announce your retirement and pave the way for a new leader to take your place.

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    Default Re: Reasons behind a legal suit

    Singaporeans have to understand that the Singapore politicians has never succeeded in suing anyone outside Singapore. The attempt in Canada failed. Not much to crow about. Here are some of the reasons that people do not contest legal suits of this nature even when they are not in the wrong.

    1. If you do not have deep pockets you do not contest because its takes a lorry load of money to go the distance. There is also avenue open to the plaintiff in a lawsuit to secure collateral or security from the defendent to contest. There is also the cost of not only of your own lawyer but that of the plaintiff to fork out in the event it does not go your way.

    2. It might walk like a duck, looks like a duck, smells like a duck and quack like a duck but in the eyes of the courts rooted in the british version of libel laws, you cannot reasonably infer that it is a duck unlike the US courts. Even when it is sincere interpretation of events that led to the inference.

    3. In an oppressive climate like Singapore, there is zero hope in hell to secure witnesses or even experts that are prepared to support and testify on your behalf when the plaintiff are associated with the PAP. That is common sense. If this govt does a confidential poll of randomly selected individuals right across society's spectrum excluding PA registered grassroots leaders / volunteers and PAP registered members, I will be surprised if they get 5% who are prepared to appear before th courts.

    In essence, in many such cases, an apology, withdrawal of comment etc are tactical moves. When Lance Armstrong sued, the Papers paid and now they are suing him back for the return of the settlement plus more. His is not the only case. Former MP, peer and author Jeffrey Archer is another.

    An intelligent person will look at Alex Au's record, his sincerity in addressing and resolving issues in the past to make an assessment.

    The PAP knows full well that an anonymous blogger carries little weight and they are doing just that to get rid of Alex. We do a great disservice if we consider Alex irresponsible based on his past contribution and track record. He has been the nation's conscience for quite a while. If we let Alex down, we let ourselves down.

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    Default Re: Reasons behind a legal suit

    Absolutely fair comment. You can make all those comments and I can assure you that no know is going to sue you or anyone from making suck comments. These are residents money.

    Quote Originally Posted by cass888 View Post
    A contract, not a mere $140k computer contract mind you but management of the whole town council jurisdiction, has been awarded to a company which was formed immediately after winning the election. Do you think that is a fair comment?

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    Default Re: Reasons behind a legal suit

    REMEMBER to

    VOTE papees OUT


    do yrself, yr forefathers and yr generations to come, a favor, a service and a long-awaited justice





  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by scroobal View Post
    Singaporeans have to understand that the Singapore politicians has never succeeded in suing anyone outside Singapore.

    We do a great disservice if we consider Alex irresponsible based on his past contribution and track record. He has been the nation's conscience for quite a while. If we let Alex down, we let ourselves down.
    What are we going to do? This has been going on and on for years.

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    Default Re: Reasons behind a legal suit

    I will push for Libel Reform to add Comments on issues of Public Interests should be made as a legitimate defence against defamation.

    Goh Meng Seng
    We have lost sight of the joy and excitement of public service, helping our fellow men. The joy and excitement of seeking and understanding of the joy of the miracle of the living the duty and the grandeur. We have lost taste for heroic action in the service of our people. David Marshall

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    Default Re: Reasons behind a legal suit

    so much for national conversation.

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    Default Re: Reasons behind a legal suit

    Quote Originally Posted by Goh Meng Seng View Post
    I will push for Libel Reform to add Comments on issues of Public Interests should be made as a legitimate defence against defamation.

    Goh Meng Seng
    see how Goh Meng Seng like everything that ANgela zeh zeh post??





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    Default Re: Reasons behind a legal suit

    PM lee has no case in court because AIM saga is of public interest which was not answered by PAP, just like auntie cleaner bring the BE to court.
    Last edited by myfoot123; 04-01-2013 at 01:12 PM.

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    Default Re: Reasons behind a legal suit

    Quote Originally Posted by Goh Meng Seng View Post
    I will push for Libel Reform to add Comments on issues of Public Interests should be made as a legitimate defence against defamation.

    Goh Meng Seng

    Easier to push if you happen to be sittng in parliament as MP. You failed in the last GE. So, forget about pulling and pushing.

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    Default Re: Reasons behind a legal suit

    Yup, you are right, really cannot depend on those WP MPs in parliament?!

    Goh Meng Seng


    Quote Originally Posted by GoldenDragon View Post
    Easier to push if you happen to be sittng in parliament as MP. You failed in the last GE. So, forget about pulling and pushing.
    We have lost sight of the joy and excitement of public service, helping our fellow men. The joy and excitement of seeking and understanding of the joy of the miracle of the living the duty and the grandeur. We have lost taste for heroic action in the service of our people. David Marshall

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    Default Re: Reasons behind a legal suit

    What is the fucking use of all this National Conversation when a simple clear answer cannot even be given for an issue of such public interest? why is the PM hiding behind a law suit instead of coming out with clear, straight forward, honest, candid answers? Why is there so much dithering and slithering?

    Public funds were involved, public property was involved, partisan politicians were involved, yet the tender process was dubious, the motives of questionable morality, and the govt still owes us a by election. And all we get is a threat to sue. We all know that that even if the govt wins in extracting an apology from Alex Au , it will not make the scandal go away. The PM should at least own up come forward and give proper answers as the citizens deserve.

    At least, whether we love him or not, the Old Man would have come out guns blazing and grapple the bull by the horns, silence critics with his force of logic or imperatives or whatever - except keep mum and cowering behind some rock.
    Last edited by kingrant; 04-01-2013 at 01:28 PM.

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    Default Re: Reasons behind a legal suit

    Tomoro all Singaporeans should cancel their subscription to the SCM and pay it to Alex Au for doing what the SCM should be doing in the first place.

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    Default Re: Reasons behind a legal suit

    Quote Originally Posted by Goh Meng Seng View Post
    Yup, you are right, really cannot depend on those WP MPs in parliament?!

    Goh Meng Seng
    How is my post connected to your second point? Have you taken your medication? Stronger dosage recommended.

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Goh Meng Seng View Post
    I will push for Libel Reform to add Comments on issues of Public Interests should be made as a legitimate defence against defamation.

    Goh Meng Seng
    Anything you push for is a goner.

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    Default Re: Reasons behind a legal suit

    This is another instalment in the serious of PAP-led defamation suits to harass and initimidate bloggers into not asking the serious questions and pointing out where wrongdoing may have occurred.

    If PM Lee was sincere about a national conversation and more openness he would open up the AIM issue a proper and thorough investigation and not threaten with lawsuit and insist it is defamatory right from the start.

    Clearly all the apologies in GE2011 were nothing but ashes scattered into the running waters of Boat Quay.
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