The Online Citizen (TOC) editor Terry Xu has filed his defence in the defamation lawsuit against him by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
On 1 Sept, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) issued a letter to the editor of TOC, demanding an apology and that they remove an article and a Facebook post repeating allegations made by PM Lee’s sister Lee Wei Ling during the Lee family feud in 2017.
The letter put forth PM Lee’s request that TOC immediately remove the article and Facebook post by Sept 4, and publish a “full and unconditional apology” along with an undertaking that it would not publish similar allegations in the future. The letter warned that “PM Lee will have no choice but to hand the matter over to his lawyers to sue to enforce his full rights in law” if TOC does not comply.
On 4 Sept, Mr Xu responded and said that he will not comply with the demands set out in PM Lee’s letter. The very next day (5 Sept), PM Lee’s lawyers served Mr Xu with a writ of summons and a statement of claim at his place of residence, initiating a defamation case against him.
On 10 Sept, Mr Xu filed a memorandum of appearance with the High Court, in response to the writ of summons and statement of claim filed by PM Lee’s lawyers on his behalf. The memorandum of appearance indicates that Mr Xu will contest the defamation action brought on by the head of government. Mr Xu added that he plans to represent himself in the case.
Last Friday (27 Sept), Mr Xu entered his defence for the case. He said: “The Prime Minister has expressed through his press secretary to the media that he is willing to testify in court along with his siblings if the trial proceeds. I, therefore, look forward to meeting the Prime Minister in court.”
A pre-trial conference is scheduled to take place next month, on 15 October at 9.30am.-/TISG