Monday, 23 Nov 2020

Parti Liyani chooses not to seek compensation from Liew Mun Leong; lawyer says her losses amounted to $71,000

SINGAPORE – Former domestic worker Parti Liyani, who was acquitted last month of stealing from the family of prominent businessman Liew Mun Leong, has decided not to approach her former employer for compensation, the High Court was told on Tuesday (Oct 27).

This is despite Ms Parti suffering losses which her lawyer Anil Balchandani quantified at $71,000, comprising her salary for four years and the expenses incurred by non-governmental group Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (Home) in sheltering her since December 2016.

Her lawyer, Mr Anil Balchandani, told Justice Chan Seng Onn that “a lot has transpired” since the High Court judge acquitted Ms Parti, primarily that Mr Liew has resigned from his posts at the Changi Airport Group and Surbana Jurong.

“In regard to that, my client’s instructions were not to add more to his problems,” said Mr Balchandani.

He was addressing the court in relation to seeking compensation – which is capped at $10,000 – under a provision in the law.

Under the Criminal Procedure Code, if an accused person is acquitted of any charge, and if it is proved to the satisfaction of the court that the prosecution was frivolous or vexatious, the court may order the prosecution or the complainant or the person on whose information the prosecution was instituted, to pay up to $10,000 as compensation to the accused.

Justice Chan suggested the parties try going for mediation, bearing in mind that the sum Ms Parti can claim is limited to $10,000.

He noted that public funds are involved and the cost of a two or three-day hearing into the legal arguments, such as what amounts to “frivolous or vexatious”, will come up to more than that.

“Is it worth it? It doesn’t seem so,” said the judge.

Justice Chan suggested getting former Attorney-Generals, such as Justice Chao Hick Tin, Mr Chan Sek Keong and Mr V.K. Rajah, as mediators.

Mr Balchandani said his client was seeking “a nominal amount to show that something went wrong”.

He added: “The appellant who is now a free person was wronged and the AGC could be a little wiser the next time round.”

The case was adjourned for parties to consider mediation.

If the mediation attempt fails, Mr Balchandani has two weeks to file written submissions, after which the prosecution has three weeks to respond and Mr Balchandani has another week to reply.

The high-profile case sparked public outcry, with questions raised about the evidence-gathering process and the way in which the trial was conducted.

Last week, Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon allowed investigations to proceed against the two prosecutors who handled Ms Parti’s trial, after she filed a complaint against them.

Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam is expected to make a ministerial statement in Parliament next week to address questions that have been raised about the case.

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