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Parti Liyani to proceed with complaint against two DPPs

Parti Liyani to proceed with complaint against two DPPs

Source: Straits Times
Article Date: 16 Oct 2020
Author: Selina Lum

Acquitted ex-maid had sought disciplinary inquiry into prosecutors at her theft trial.

Former domestic worker Parti Liyani has decided to go ahead with her bid to start disciplinary proceedings against two prosecutors, after being given two weeks to consider whether she wanted to proceed.

In response to media queries, a spokesman for migrant workers' group Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (Home) said Ms Parti has "resolved to proceed" with the case. The non-governmental organisation declined further comment.

Ms Parti, 46, was acquitted last month by the High Court, on appeal, of stealing $34,000 worth of items from the family of prominent businessman Liew Mun Leong.

The Indonesian, who was earlier sentenced to 26 months' jail, has been staying at a shelter run by Home since December 2016.

In June, before she was acquitted, she filed an application seeking an order for Deputy Public Prosecutors Tan Wee Hao and Tan Yanying, who conducted her trial, to be investigated before a disciplinary tribunal.

The application was heard in chambers by Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon earlier this month.

At the hearing, her lawyer, Mr Anil Balchandani, said that his client considered withdrawing the complaint as she was "torn".

On the one hand, Ms Parti believes that the prosecutors should answer the allegations that she has raised, said the lawyer.

But on the other, she also wished to return to Indonesia as soon as possible as she has not been home for the last four years.

The Chief Justice then granted a two-week adjournment for Ms Parti to decide whether she intends to proceed with the case.

The Chief Justice also noted that Ms Parti would likely have to appoint another lawyer if Mr Balchandani is to be a witness in the proceedings.

At the hearing, State Counsel Kristy Tan, for the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC), said that the DPPs in question will not object if the Chief Justice refers the matter for investigation.

The AGC has said that the two legal service officers "welcome the chance to present a full and transparent account of what transpired during the trial".

The high-profile case sparked a public outcry, with questions raised about the evidence gathering process and the way in which the trial was conducted.

Reviews by the police and AGC are expected to conclude this month.

Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam has said that he intends to make a ministerial statement in Parliament next month after these reviews are completed, and will address the questions raised.

One of the issues raised by High Court judge Chan Seng Onn in his judgment related to a demonstration carried out by the DPPs on a DVD player, which Ms Parti said she was allowed to take as it was broken.

During the trial, the DPPs showed Ms Parti that the device could play a video digitally stored in the hard disk. However, during the appeal, it was shown that the device could not play DVDs.

Justice Chan said that if the prosecution had known of this defect, it should have fully disclosed it.

If not, the trial court could be misled into thinking that the player was in good working condition when questions were put to Ms Parti.

Source: Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Permission required for reproduction.

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