In a legal test case which considered if the Government can be considered a “Person” under the Protection from Harassment Act, the High Court ruled that the Government cannot use the Act against individuals and websites.
Parliament enacted the Act early last year to to protect people from harassment and stalking, and to provide remedies for victims of false statements.
In his decision delivered on December 9 last year, Judicial Commissioner See Kee Oon, overturned an earlier district court decision which had ruled in favour of the Government. The Government is not a “Person” for the purpose of the provision in the Act, and so cannot start legal actions against the appellants, the judge ruled.
The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) acting for the Government had invoked the act against Dr Ting Choon Meng (co-founder of medical device firm MobileStats Technologies), and the socio-political website, The Online Citizen (TOC).
MobileStats claimed that the Ministry of Defence had copied its concept of a mobile emergency medical station and sued the Government for patent infringement. TOC interviewed Dr Ting about the case, and posted it on their website.
Blogger Andrew Loh, who was one of the persons named in the Government’s case against TOC wrote on his Facebook that the case is not over yet.
“The AGC is filing an appeal over the High Court’s decision”, and “the ones named in the case, are filing an objection to the AGC’s appeal, and are arguing for the courts not to grant AGC leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal”, he said.
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