On Tuesday (Oct 27), Parti Liyani, the former domestic helper took to the High Court seeking a compensation order for the case, estimating her losses to be about S$71,000.
Despite Ms Parti’s lawyer Anil Balchandani wanting to approach Mr Liew and his family directly for compensation, her instructions were “not to add more to (Mr Liew’s) problems”, as he “(had) to resign” from various positions at Changi Airport Group and Surbana Jurong after she was acquitted.
In March 2019, Ms Parti was convicted for stealing S$34,000 worth of items from former Changi Airport Group chairman Liew Mun Leong and his family when she worked for them as a domestic helper.
However, on Sep 4 this year, the conviction was overturned by the High Court and she was acquitted of all theft charges.
Under such situations, when the court orders the prosecution to pay the accused compensation, the sum does not exceed S$10,000.
Mr Balchandani told Justice Chan Seng Onn that in deriving the S$71,000, Ms Parti’s salary losses of about S$41,000 for about four years between October 2016 and October 2020 was included. This figure was derived from her salary of S$750 per month as a maid with 20 years of experience.
Furthermore, the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (HOME), gave Ms Parti shelter after she was dismissed.
Mr Balchandani said that Ms Parti was asking for “a nominal amount to show that something went wrong”, according to a CNA report.
“The appellant, who is now a free person, was wronged, and the AGC could be a little wiser the next time round. That’s all. This is not meant to prolong an already lengthy trial as well as appeal,” he said.
The judge sent both sides back to consider third-party mediation. If this falls through, both Mr Balchandani and the prosecution will return at a later date to resume arguments on the compensation order.
He added that if they proceeded with the case, there were several legal issues that had to be argued.
“Basically, it’s not so straightforward,” said Justice Chan. “It will take certainly more than a day. So I don’t think it’s worth it.”
Court action seeking disciplinary proceedings against AGC prosecutors
Last week, Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon granted Ms Parti leave or permission last week, for an investigation to be conducted into her complaint of misconduct against two prosecutors in her trial.
She sought disciplinary proceedings against legal service officers.
The two deputy public prosecutors who dealt with Ms Parti’s trial are Mr Tan Wee Hao, and Ms Tan Yanying.
During the case proceedings, when Justice Chan Seng Onn submitted his judgment on her acquittal, he outlined several issues with the conviction findings and how the case was handled.
Ms Parti was accused of stealing a DVD player, which she said had been thrown away by the family because it did not work.
Prosecutors later admitted they knew the machine could not play DVDs, but did not disclose this during the trial when it was produced as evidence and shown to have worked in another way.
This earned criticism from Justice Chan that they used a “sleight-of-hand technique… [that] was particularly prejudicial to the accused”.
He added that the condition of the DVD player was neither disclosed to the trial judge nor to Ms Parti. He called the DVD player incident “particularly prejudicial to Ms Parti” as she was not given a chance to test the player until the trial itself.
In addition, Justice Chan also questioned the credibility of Mr Karl Liew as a witness.
Justice Chan also questioned the actions taken by police – who did not visit or view the scene of the offences until about five weeks after the initial police report was made.
The police also failed to offer her an interpreter who spoke Indonesian, and instead offered one who spoke Malay, a different language which Ms Parti was not used to speaking.
A disciplinary tribunal will hear the case and investigate the complaint.
Penalties include censures, being struck off the roll, penalty of up to S$20,000, or any other order a disciplinary tribunal deems fit. /TISG