It was the High Court's decision which required the authorities to do further investigations, specifically on the Liews and whether any criminal investigations had been committed, Minister for Law and Home Affairs K Shanmugam stated.
The authorities did not look for additional evidence to question the High Court, he further added.
Shanmugam was responding to a question by Workers' Party MP Sylvia Lim, on whether the High Court could have come to a different conclusion if it was aware of some additional information, in Parliament on Nov. 4.
Not suggesting that High Court could have come to different conclusion with new information
The Minister further clarified that he was only laying out the new information in public in a spirit of "good faith and honesty and transparency" as a member of Parliament.
"I'm not in any way therefore suggesting that if this information was there before the High Court, it could have come to a different decision. And I don't want to be making those comments.
I'm not the High Court judge and how can I say, oh, if this information was there with him, he would have changed his mind. I can say to you this is the information that is. So I'm being very careful about how I put it."
"If Miss Lim or any other members think that the High Court would have benefited from this information, that is your prerogative for you to think that, but I don't think I should be suggesting that.
And you could think otherwise too, you may think that it would have made no difference. So we are just laying out the facts."
Could the investigation officer have felt an internal need to take extra care?
Lim also raised a second question on whether the investigation officer who handled Parti Liyani's case felt an internal need to take extra care in handling the case as a result of Liew Mun Leong's prominence, even though no pressure had been exerted by Liew himself.
Lim added that the officer had apparently stated that he did not want to "re-victimise" the Liew family, a point which she found "unusual" in a theft case, given her own former experience as a police officer.
In response, Shanmugam said that it was an "obvious" question which had also struck him.
"Did the officer say, think, to himself, this is such a big man, you know, I better do certain things," he added.
This then brought up his question of whether the officer would have waited five weeks to visit the scene if that was the case.
Shanmugam further said, "I'm not suggesting that this has been specifically the case, but actually the way the matter was handled negative (negated) the suggestion of any implicit, extra attention."
However, such an action still constitutes a breach "which will be dealt with", the Minister stressed.
Xie Yao Quan: Is Parti Liyani actually guilty?
Separately, PAP MP Xie Yao Quan posed the following question to Shanmugam:
"Is Miss Liyani in fact guilty?"
In acknowledging that his question was "stark," Shanmugam replied:
"She has been acquitted by the High Court and I said that we must proceed on that basis, and not reopen that issue. I think we leave it at that. And I don't want to comment on the decision."
When Xie further asked Shanmugam for his own view on the case being seen as a matter in which "wealthy people who are cavalier in dealing with a foreign domestic worker", he further answered:
"I mean the word cavalier, the description was used by me again on the conduct of the Liews. How you characterise it, I mean I've put across the facts, I've given certain characterisations, I don't think I can usefully add further to those characterisations.
But you know this is not rocket science and I think members can draw their own conclusions as well, based on the facts."
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Top image collage left screenshot from gov.sg, right screenshot from CNA