Marathoner Soh Rui Yong to appeal after losing defamation case

It ain't over till it's over.

Belmont Lay | September 23, 2021, 05:34 PM

Follow us on Telegram for the latest updates:

Singapore champion marathoner Soh Rui Yong, 30, is going to appeal the court ruling that he had defamed former teammate Ashley Liew, 34.

On Sep. 23, 2021, Soh was ordered by the District Court to pay S$180,000 in damages awarded to Liew -- S$120,000 in general damages and S$60,000 in aggravated damages.

Appeal will be filed

Mere hours after the verdict, Soh wrote on Facebook that the case was not over and he would appeal.

With his typical bravado, he wrote:

There're a lot of falsehoods being paraded on social media, by people who don't know head from tail about this case . There are attacks on my integrity, character and credibility. Most disgustingly, there have been attacks on my family members, friends and loved ones.

I have no choice but to respond:

This marathon is not over. I will be launching an appeal in the High Court of Singapore. Will clear my name, whatever it takes.

You don't win a marathon in the first 32.2km. You win it in the last 10km.

What judge said

District Judge Lee Li Choon issued her verdict in a 69-page written judgement that wrapped up the two-year saga, dubbed a "long-running" court case by local media.

Judge Lee said in her written verdict on whether there are mitigating factors in considering the amount to award:

In awarding aggravated damages to Liew, I also note that Soh’s defamatory statements and conduct throughout this dispute have caused irreparable damage to Liew’s reputation as it has tainted the value of Liew’s Special Award by SNOC (Singapore National Olympic Council) and the prestigious Fair Play Award and exacerbated the hurt and injury to Liew’s feelings as Liew’s and the public’s memory of the 2015 SEA Games marathon have been tarnished due to its association with this dispute.

On awarding aggravated damages, the judge wrote:

I do not consider the factors submitted by Soh to be mitigating factors. It does not matter that the media’s description of the act of fair play that occurred may not have been 100 percent accurate in terms of details. What matters is that Liew did perform the act of fair play that led to him winning the SNOC Special Award and the prestigious Fair Play Award. Soh had taken the position that Liew did not perform any act of fair play without due regard as to the truth of the matter or with a careless or reckless attitude towards the defamatory imputations that could result from his statements. Even if I were to assume that the version of Liew’s act of fair play that was circulating at the time of the publication of Soh’s defamatory statements had been an exaggerated one, there is still no excuse for Soh’s reckless conduct in publishing and publicising those defamatory statements.

Follow and listen to our podcast here

Top photo via Soh Rui Yong