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Woman hired private investigators to prove husband's adultery, man denies it but fails in court appeal


Woman hired private investigators to prove husband's adultery, man denies it but fails in court appeal
Published March 27, 2024
Updated March 27, 2024

SINGAPORE — A couple filed cross-applications for divorce, with the man pointing to his wife's behaviour and the woman pointing to her husband's unreasonable behaviour and adultery.

To prove the adultery, the woman hired private investigators who submitted a report about her husband's activities including multiple visits to his mistress' flat.

She also roped in the partner of the mistress, who gave evidence fortifying the case for adultery.

A district judge granted interim judgments for divorce in favour of both the man's and woman's cases, but the man and his mistress appealed against the finding that they had committed adultery.

The man also appealed against the finding that his behaviour had been unreasonable.

In a judgment published on Wednesday (March 27), Justice Choo Han Teck dismissed both appeals, saying that adultery had been adequately proven beyond reasonable doubt.


The man, a 51-year-old accountant, filed an application for divorce in 2021, claiming that his wife had behaved in a manner that he could not reasonably be expected to live with.

The wife, a 45-year-old tutor, filed a counterclaim for divorce, basing it on her husband's unreasonable behaviour and adultery with a 51-year-old executive, who is listed in court papers as the co-respondent.

The district judge granted interim judgments for divorce in favour of both parties' cases. He found the husband had proven his claim, but he also found that the wife had proven her two claims.

The husband and his mistress appealed against the finding that they had committed adultery, and the husband also appealed against the finding that his behaviour had been unreasonable.

The wife was represented by Mr Narayanan Vijya Kumar while the husband and co-respondent were represented by Mr John Vincent and Mr Nevinjit Singh respectively.


Lawyers for the husband and the mistress argued that the district judge should not have granted the wife's application for divorce because her evidence did not prove her adultery claim beyond reasonable doubt.

The lawyers argued that even though adultery is no longer a matrimonial offence as conceived under English divorce law, it is a "blemish on the reputation of the parties concerned".

In this case, the wife has a teenage daughter while the mistress has a male partner.
The finding of adultery must not be made lightly, as it could sully the reputations of those concerned, the lawyers said.

Justice Choo said the district judge in this case did not specifically say which burden of proof he applied.

"He was not obliged to do so," said Justice Choo. "It is sufficient if he had found that the evidence on the whole justifies a finding of adultery."

Justice Choo then turned to the evidence, foremost of which was the report by private investigators the wife had commissioned to report on her husband's activities.


In a report dated Aug 5, 2022, the investigators wrote that the husband had gone to the mistress' flat on the evening of April 30, 2022.

After the mistress' 18-year-old daughter left the house at about 1am the next day, the couple were the only ones in the flat, with the husband's black Subaru SUV parked in a nearby public car park.

A similar incident was reported on a Saturday, May 7, 2022, when the pair returned to the mistress' flat in the husband's car at about 9.45pm.

They were seen carrying plastic bags in each hand, with the husband shutting the main gate and door to the mistress' flat. The mistress' daughter had left the flat earlier.

The pair were alone in the flat and did not emerge again until 10am on Sunday, when the husband left the flat to retrieve clothing and other items from his car.

The wife also obtained evidence from the partner of the mistress. The man testified that he had lived with the mistress and her daughter from her previous marriage for more than 10 years.


The partner testified that he did not know the mistress was still married when he started dating her. The mistress eventually divorced her husband and lived together with the partner.

The partner said that the mistress was not keen to get married again for unknown reasons.

The partner testified that he shared a family-like relationship with the mistress and their respective children and it was fine until 2019, when the mistress started seeing the husband.

The partner grew suspicious and found messages showing the cheating pair referring to each other in endearing terms.
He also saw a message on the mistress' smartwatch that read: "See you later darling."

The partner also testified that the mistress had shown him the membership card of a sports complex and said she could swim there.

The partner later found out from the wife that the husband had packed his swimming trunks when he went out and returned with them wet, just as the partner had noticed the mistress returning with a wet swimsuit.

The partner said he noticed the mistress going out often, leaving in the black Subaru and returning past midnight.
Once, she told him that she was out with an ex-colleague, but the partner said he called this person, who denied it.

The partner confronted the husband, stopping him at the spot where the mistress was usually dropped off on May 30, 2021.

The partner said the husband seemed surprised that the mistress and the partner were still co-habiting. He thought the partner had ended the relationship and moved out.
The partner then invited the husband into the flat to show that his belongings were still there, as were the mistress' belongings.

According to the partner, the husband was only concerned as to whether the partner was still having a sexual relationship with the mistress.

The partner said there was no shadow of a doubt in his mind that the husband and the mistress were in a serious relationship after this conversation.

It also left him "with no doubt that (they) were in an intimate relationship, which had long gone beyond having sex with each other", he said.

Justice Choo noted that the wife had also gone "to some length" to compile statistics showing when and how long the husband's car was parked at the public car park near the mistress' flat.

The results contradict the husband's claim that he was not there as often as his wife claimed, said the judge.

"The records even show which gantry the husband's car passed, and that was the gantry leading to the co-respondent's flat," said Justice Choo.


The husband claimed he had gone there to visit his brother, but the judge said the records did not support this story.

"The district judge did not believe him, and I am of the view that the evidence completely supports the district judge's findings," said Justice Choo.

He noted that the husband and mistress also made "a feeble attempt to explain their meetings", claiming they were "to discuss the wife's application for divorce based on the adultery between them".

"This found no favour with the district judge, and I too am not persuaded that the couple would spend so many intimate moments alone to discuss how to reject the allegation of their intimacy," said Justice Choo.

Counsel for the husband had submitted that the district judge had "disrupted" his cross-examination. This was when the district judge asked the wife whether she was saying that the husband and the mistress had "physical intercourse".

This was followed by another question regarding what the wife believed the relationship between the pair was, had there been no physical intercourse.

Counsel for the husband submitted that these questions had "disrupted and weakened the effectiveness of his cross-examination".

Justice Choo examined the notes of evidence and said he had "no hesitation in rejecting this submission".

"Counsel must be made of sterner stuff and recover with ease from the occasional interruptions from the court," he said. "Witnesses often give vague or ambiguous answers that need to be clarified."

He then dismissed the appeals.

The lower court judge had ordered the husband and mistress to pay costs of S$6,000 equally, and to also pay the costs of the private investigators hired by the wife in full.

Justice Choo said he was of the view that the costs ordered were "on the low side" but said he would not disturb that order.

He ordered the husband and the mistress to pay costs of S$2,000 each for their failed appeals. CNA