Marathoner Soh Rui Yong loses appeal in defamation suit

Soh said he respects the court's decision.

Low Jia Ying | March 28, 2022, 04:18 PM

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Singapore marathoner Soh Rui Yong's appeal against the decision to award his former teammate Ashley Liew S$180,000 in damages in a defamation suit was dismissed on March 28.

In September 2021, Soh was ordered by the district court to pay Liew S$180,000 in damages. This included S$120,000 in general damages and S$60,000 in aggravated damages.

Along with dismissing his appeal, Justice Valerie Thean also ordered Soh to pay S$18,000 in costs for the court hearing, Today reported.

This is on top of the S$125,000 Soh was ordered to pay in February for the district court trial.

Soh need not apologise publicly

According to Today, Justice Thean upheld District Judge Lee Li Choon's decision to grant Liew's request for an injunction for Soh not to repeat the libellous comments, remove the social media posts and retract the statements he made.

However, Justice Thean ruled that Soh need not make a public apology to Liew on his social media pages.

Soh, who is in London pursuing a law degree, said he respects the court's decision and "will move forward from here", The Straits Times reported.

Soh also confirmed with Mothership that he is moving forward.

Likely end to long-running saga

This judgement marks the likely end of a long-running saga between Soh and Liew.

Soh had made comments about an act of fair play by Liew at the 2015 SEA Games marathon, where the two were representing Singapore as teammates.

Liew was the only participant in the marathon who took the correct route, while the others missed a U-turn and took a different path.

As a result, Liew got ahead of everyone, but had apparently slowed down to let the others catch up, before resuming his marathon pace.

Liew came in eighth, while Soh won the race.

Liew received two awards for his sportsmanship, as well as praise by some Cabinet ministers.

In five online posts between June 2015 and August 2019, Soh disputed that Liew had even slowed down at all.

In 2019, Liew then sued Soh for defamation.

After Soh was ordered to pay Liew S$180,000 last September, and decided to turn to members of the public to crowdfund the damages.

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Top photo via Soh Rui Yong/FB