Parti Liyani's case against prosecutors adjourned while she decides if she wants to drop it

Parti Liyani's case against prosecutors adjourned while she decides if she wants to drop it

Parti Liyani with her lawyer after being acquitted (1)
Parti Liyani with her lawyer Anil Balchandani outside the High Court on Sep 4, 2020. She was acquitted of stealing from Changi Airport Group chairman Liew Mun Leong and his family. (Photo: Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics)

SINGAPORE: The Chief Justice on Thursday (Oct 1) gave Ms Parti Liyani two weeks to reconsider her application for an investigation to be made into alleged misconduct by two prosecutors in her case, after she expressed some doubts about pursuing it.

Ms Parti, who worked as a maid for former chairman of Changi Airport Group Liew Mun Leong, had applied via her lawyer Anil Balchandani for a disciplinary tribunal to be set up to look into the case.

She is accusing Deputy Public Prosecutors Tan Yanying and Tan Wee Hao of misconduct in handling her trial. 

Ms Parti had been convicted in March 2019 by a lower court of stealing S$34,000 worth of items from Mr Liew and his family. 

However, a High Court judge overturned the conviction on Sep 4 this year, outlining several issues with the conviction findings and how the case was handled.

READ: Timeline: How former maid Parti Liyani was acquitted of stealing from Changi Airport Group chairman's family

READ: Liew Mun Leong retires from CAG, other public service and business roles after court's decision on Parti Liyani case

Mr Balchandani said in the hearing in chambers on Thursday that Ms Parti has been "somewhat overwhelmed by the events of the past month". 

"He has further drawn to my attention the fact that uppermost in his client’s mind is the fact that she has not been home to Indonesia for the last four years and that she naturally wishes to be able to return as soon as conveniently possible," said the Chief Justice in explaining his decision to adjourn the case. 

Because of this, Ms Parti initially considered withdrawing her application to investigate the prosecutors' conduct. 

However, she "evidently also believes that the DPPs should answer the allegations she has raised in her affidavit and is altogether somewhat torn between the various competing considerations", said the Chief Justice.

Ms Parti's lawyer asked for two weeks' adjournment for Ms Parti to come to a final decision as to whether she intends to proceed with the case or not.

PROSECUTORS NOT OBJECTING TO INVESTIGATION

During the hearing, state counsel for the Attorney-General's Chambers Kristy Tan said the prosecutors in question will not object to having the matter referred to a disciplinary tribunal for investigation.

She said this would "give them the opportunity to present their account of what transpired and to explain themselves fully".

"While that commends itself to me as the appropriate course of action in the light of the materials that have been filed and that I have considered, in the present circumstance, before I make any orders, I think it is appropriate to grant the applicant the two-week period she has asked for to enable her to decide whether she wishes to proceed with her application," said Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon.

READ: The Big Read - For migrant workers in trouble, navigating Singapore's legal system can be a challenge

Apart from Ms Parti's application, he also heard an application by the prosecutors asking to be allowed to intervene.

According to the latest court documents, the prosecutors applied for their counsels, State Counsels Kristy Tan, Jeyendran Jeyapal and Jocelyn Teo, to appear at the hearing.

They also sought permission to place before the court several documents including notes of evidence from Ms Parti's appeal, extracts from the lower court trial, as well as notes of evidence from Mr Liew and his wife.

Chief Justice Menon granted the application, saying that he prefers for any materials "that are reasonably thought to be relevant" to be before the court.

The AGC said in a statement after the hearing that the prosecutors "welcome the chance to present a full and transparent account of what transpired during the trial involving Ms Parti Liyani, and will cooperate fully in any inquiry".

Should the case be referred to a tribunal and misconduct is found, the prosecutors could face punishments such as censures, being struck off the roll, being prohibited from applying for a practising certificate for up to five years or having to pay a penalty of up to S$20,000.

Editor's note: A previous version of the story said the prosecutors had applied for Deputy Attorney-General Hri Kumar Nair to appear as counsel, based on available court documents. The AGC has clarified that he has been replaced by Senior State Counsel Kristy Tan.

Source: CNA/ll(hs)

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