Blogger’s S$5,000 offer for PM Lee damages was rejected as it’s ridiculously low
SINGAPORE — Lawyers for Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong have rejected blogger Roy Ngerng’s S$5,000 offer as damages for defamation, saying that the offer is “derisory”.
The offer “completely disregards the gravity of your client’s conduct, the disputed fact that the libel is false and malicious, and your client’s calculated and systematic aggravation of the injury and distress to our client”, Mr Lee’s lawyer Davinder Singh said in a letter to Mr Ngerng’s lawyer M Ravi today (May 27).
Mr Singh had sent a letter of demand to the 33-year-old healthcare worker on May 18 after the latter posted an article on May 15, alleging that Central Provident Fund (CPF) monies had been misappropriated.
Detailing the reasons why the offer was rejected, Mr Singh, of Drew & Napier, noted that Mr Ngerng “pursued a course which was designed to aggravate the injury and distress” to Mr Lee by publishing or republishing various posts and a YouTube video. “He also repeated the libel, went back on his apology and broke this undertaking,” said Mr Singh.
And while Mr Ngerng promised to remove the blog posts and a YouTube video, he had sent emails telling recipients how they could continue reading some of the offending posts. The YouTube video was also made private instead of being removed.
“He therefore has only himself to blame for losing the opportunity of not having to pay aggravated damages,” Mr Singh said to Mr Ravi, adding that Mr Ngerng’s subsequent explanation for his conduct — that it was a “momentary lapse of judgement” — is “disingenuous and incredible, as is the apology that he has once again sought to give through you”.
In a letter this morning, Mr Singh also questioned if Mr Ravi knew about the blogger’s intentions to remove or not to remove the video, as well as to send the two emails.
Mr Ravi replied in a letter, obtained by MediaCorp, that he had no prior knowledge of the emails.
Mr Ravi said: “For the avoidance of any doubt, we reiterate that we had no knowledge of the dissemination of the emails and in fact had no knowledge of them until we had sight of your letter.”
He said he has advised his client to stop any action that will aggravate the injury and distress to Mr Lee.