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Blogger submits defence for defamation suit by PM

In defence papers filed on Tuesday, Mr Ngerng’s lawyer M Ravi said the Prime Minister is not entitled to aggravated damages, as there is nothing in the “mode, extent or timing of any publication (or republication) alleged to give rise to a claim”.

SINGAPORE: Blogger Roy Ngerng has reiterated that he had no intention of defaming Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his blog posts.

In defence papers filed on Tuesday (June 17), Mr Ngerng’s lawyer M Ravi said Mr Lee – who is suing Mr Ngerng over his posts alleging misappropriation of Central Provident Fund (CPF) monies – is not entitled to aggravated damages, as there is nothing in the “mode, extent or timing of any publication (or republication) alleged to give rise to a claim”. Mr Ngerng had also publicly acknowledged that such an allegation would be “false and without foundation”, he said.

Referring to the Statement of Claim filed by Mr Lee’s lawyer Davinder Singh on May 29, Mr Ravi also argued that Mr Lee must prove the identity of the alleged “various people” who had accessed and downloaded the contents of his client’s article, and show proof of which website or blog the articles were downloaded from and how any alleged republication had resulted in damage to his reputation.

“In all the circumstances of this case, to pursue a claim against (Mr Ngerng) for damages (including aggravated damages) and legal costs, is unnecessary and unwarranted,” Mr Ravi said.

Mr Ngerng had published a blog post containing allegations against Mr Lee on May 15. In a Letter of Demand on May 18 from Mr Singh, Mr Ngerng was told to remove the article, post a public apology on his blog The Heart Truths, foot the bill for Mr Lee’s legal costs and offer damages.

Mr Ngerng acceded to the requests, but later posted articles that Mr Singh said reneged on his undertaking and made him liable for aggravated damages. The writ of summons for the suit was filed to the Supreme Court on May 29, where the claim value for civil trials exceeds S$250,000.

Mr Lee has 14 days to reply to the defence submitted.

Meanwhile, Mr Ngerng has raised more than S$100,000 from a fund-raising appeal to the public to pay for his legal costs, said an update on his blog on June 14.

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