Lee Hsien Yang ordered to pay S$400K in damages to Shanmugam & Vivian for defamation

Lee Hsien Yang ordered to pay S$400K in damages to Shanmugam & Vivian for defamation

Lee Hsien Yang ordered to pay S$400K in defamation case

Mr Lee Hsien Yang, brother of Senior Minster Lee Hsien Loong, has been ordered to pay S$400,000 following a defamation case involving two Cabinet ministers.

A High Court judge has instructed Mr Lee to fork out the costs for defaming Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam and Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan.

In a Facebook post on 23 July last year, Mr Lee accused the two ministers of corruption with regards to the rental of Ridout Road state bungalows.

Lee Hsien Yang Issued POFMA Order For Facebook Post With ‘Untrue Statements’ On Ridout Road & SPH Media

Lee Hsien Yang ordered to pay in defamation case

In a written judgement released on Friday (24 May), High Court Justice Goh Yihan awarded general damages and aggravated damages totalling S$200,000 each to Mr Shanmugam and Dr Vivian.

He also detailed the reasons for his ruling against Mr Lee, stating his allegations against the two minsters were “of the gravest kind” as it targeted their personal integrity, professional reputation, honour, and core attributes of their personalities.

As Mr Lee is “well-known” in Singapore, and the ministers involved were “public leaders and persons of the highest integrity”, the cost of the damages was higher.

Justice Goh noted that Mr Lee did not apologise to the ministers, or remove his defamatory Facebook post when given the opportunity.

In addition, Mr Lee also repeatedly drew attention to the post by updating the public on matters related to the case.

Justice Goh topped off his reasons for his ruling by stating that Mr Lee “acted in malice” as he knew the accusations were false and would cause hurt.

Defamation saga began in 2023

After Mr Lee posted his allegations in July last year, he received a Correction Direction under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA).

After being cleared by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) over the Ridout allegations, Mr Shanmugam and Dr Vivian said they would sue Mr Lee if he did not apologise.

Mr Lee refused to do so, hence the two ministers filed defamation suits against him in September.

Shanmugam & Vivian Sue Lee Hsien Yang Over Ridout Road Allegations, Cases In Court On 5 Sep

Mr Lee was then sent the defamation papers via Facebook Messenger as he was not in Singapore at the time.

On 27 November, Justice Goh ruled in favour of Mr Shanmugam and Dr Vivian, and barred Mr Lee from publishing further allegations.

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Featured image adapted from Vivian Balakrishnan on Facebook, K Shanmugam Sc on Facebook & Lee Hsien Yang on Facebook.

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