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SINGAPORE: The trial of People’s Voice leader Lim Tean was supposed to have started on Monday (Dec 11), but Mr Lim has been unable to attend due to illness. Mr Foo Ho Chew, his defence counsel, presented a medical certificate that said Mr Lim had come down with gastroenteritis. It is the second time that the trial has been delayed.

The trial had initially been slated to begin on Aug 29, but on that day, the opposition politician asked for an adjournment so he could do two things: find a new lawyer and study the evidence from the prosecution because he’d been busy with the Presidential Election. Mr Lim had been the seconder of one of the candidates, Mr Tan Kin Lian, the former chief executive officer of NTUC Income.

The trial involves three charges against Mr Lim, 58, of acting as a lawyer without a valid practising certificate under the Legal Profession Act, which he is contesting. Four other charges have been filed against him, including unlawfully stalking an ex-employee and criminal breach of trust for misappropriating his client’s money.

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Read related: ‘The campaign of one of the presidential candidates hardly left me any time for the trial’ — Lim Tean dismisses lawyer, asks for more time to study evidence

Mr Foo said that his client’s medical certificate had been slipped under the door of his office some hours before the scheduled start of the trial. Nevertheless, Deputy Public Prosecutor Edwin Soh characterised the situation as a “delay tactic” on Mr Lim’s part, citing the original trial date of Aug 29.

The defence counsel said that on Dec 8, Mr Lim expressed he may be coming down with Covid-19, whereupon Mr Foo advised him to see a doctor. The PV leader finally sought medical advice on Dec 10, TODAY reported.

And despite waiting at his office on Sunday (Dec 10) until 11 pm, Mr Lim did not come to bring Mr Foo a medical certificate. He only found the MC on Monday morning, Mr Foo added. The trial has been adjourned to Dec 27.

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On Aug 29, Mr Lim appeared in court with his lawyer, Sankar Kailasa Thevar Saminathan, from Sterling Law Corporation. However, just after the trial began, he dismissed his defence counsel.

“It has become apparent that we have fundamental differences in how to handle my defence. I therefore discharge him and would like to get a new counsel,” TODAY quotes Mr Lim, 58, as saying.

He also said he needs more time to peruse the evidence bundle he received from the prosecution last week.

”The service of the bundle came at an inopportune time and I have been very involved for the campaign of one of the presidential candidates which has hardly left me any time for the trial,” he said.

The prosecution then called Mr Lim’s action a “delay tactic,” with Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Edwin Soh pointing out that the trial date had already been scheduled during a pre-trial conference hearing in March. /TISG