The High Court today ordered CPF blogger Roy Ngerng to pay Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong $29,000 in legal fees and related expenses.
The court awarded $20,000 in costs for the summary judgement and $9,000 for filing cost.
Last November, Justice Lee Seiu Kin issued the summary judgment that Ngerng had defamed PM Lee.
Said PM Lee's press secretary Chang Li Lin in a statement:
“At the hearing today, the Judge ordered that the total costs to be paid by the Defendant to the Plaintiff be fixed at $29,000. This amount is for the legal fees and related expenses incurred up to the conclusion of the application for summary judgement. The dates for the subsequent hearings are not confirmed."
Ngerng had written a blog entry in May last year, comparing PM Lee to the leaders of City Harvest Church, who were prosecuted for misusing $50 million of church funds.
Chang added that Ngerng did not want to be cross-examined, unlike PM who is ready to be cross-examined, a position he stated earlier to the Court.
Ngerng however disputed Chang's statement in his latest blog, and claimed that he never said that he did not want to be cross-examined.
Ngerng also said that he told his lawyer that he was ready to be cross-examined and to also cross-examine the prime minister.
Money enough or not enough?
$29,000 might seem like a lot of money for an unemployed person.
Does that mean he has enough in his coffers to write more pointed blog entries and defame PM a few more times?
Not really. The $29,000 doesn't include damages, which have yet to be assessed by the High Court.
Perhaps he needs to appeal for another round of donations. Just in case.
Top photo by Ng Yi Shu.