Parti Liyani files court action to seek disciplinary proceedings against prosecutors in her case

Parti Liyani files court action to seek disciplinary proceedings against prosecutors in her case

Big Read Sep 12 Parti Liyani Anil Balchandani
Ms Parti Liyani (left) and her lawyer Anil Balchandani arriving at the State Courts on Sep 8, 2020. (Photo: TODAY/Raj Nadarajan)

SINGAPORE: Ms Parti Liyani, the former domestic helper of businessman Liew Mun Leong, has taken to court to seek disciplinary proceedings against the prosecutors in her case.

If she is successful, proceedings could be initiated to assess if there was any misconduct by the prosecutors.

Ms Parti's lawyer, Mr Anil Balchandani, attended a pre-trial conference in the High Court on Wednesday (Sep 23) against representatives from the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC).

The hearing was for an originating summons under Section 82A of the Legal Profession Act, for disciplinary proceedings against legal service officers.

The respondents listed in Ms Parti's case are two deputy public prosecutors who dealt with her trial: Mr Tan Wee Hao, and Ms Tan Yanying. They are represented by AGC's Kristy Tan Ruyan, Jeyendran Jeyapal and Jocelyn Teo Meng Hui. 

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

An originating summons is a way to begin civil action and is based on affidavits filed to support the case. It is heard before registrars or judges.

If the Chief Justice grants Ms Parti leave for an investigation to be made into the complaint of misconduct, he may appoint a disciplinary tribunal. The tribunal will then hear the case and investigate the complaint, before submitting its findings to the Chief Justice. He can dismiss the complaint if the tribunal finds no cause of sufficient gravity for disciplinary action, or give orders to have punishments imposed.

Section 82A is concerned with misconduct by legal service officers or non-practising solicitors. If due cause is shown with proof that the legal service officer is guilty of misconduct befitting their post as an advocate and solicitor, they could be punished.

Penalties include censures, being struck off the roll, penalty of up to S$20,000, or any other order a disciplinary tribunal deems fit.

When approached by CNA, Mr Balchandani confirmed that the hearing took place on Wednesday but declined comment.

READ: Judge's findings ‘raise questions’ that warrant further investigations after maid acquitted of stealing from CAG chairman’s family: AGC

READ: Parti Liyani case: Shanmugam says 'something has gone wrong' in chain of events, urges people not to 'prejudge' review

Ms Parti was acquitted earlier this month by the High Court of stealing S$34,000 worth of items from former Changi Airport Group chairman Liew Mun Leong.

This came after she was convicted in a lower court. In Justice Chan Seng Onn's judgment on her acquittal, he outlined several issues with the conviction findings and how the case was handled.

He noted the prosecution's use of a faulty DVD player in the hearing, saying that the fact that it was faulty was not disclosed to the trial judge nor to Ms Parti. If the prosecutor had known of the defect, they should have fully disclosed it, said Justice Chan.

If not, the trial court could be misled into thinking that the Pioneer DVD player was in good working condition when "questions were (and unfairly) put to Ms Parti ... on the basis that the DVD player was still in a good working condition after an incomplete demonstration of its important functionalities during the trial", he said.

In his judgment, he said the rule against introducing evidence from the bar should apply equally to both the prosecution and defence, and said the DVD player incident was "particularly prejudicial to Ms Parti" as she was not given a chance to test the player until the trial itself.

READ: Maid acquitted of stealing from Changi Airport Group chairman’s family hid her ordeal from her family

A week after the acquittal, Mr Liew announced he was retiring from his public service and business roles with Changi Airport Group, Surbana Jurong, Temasek Foundation and Temasek International.

CNA has contacted AGC for more information.

Source: CNA/ll(cy)

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