The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) has followed through with contempt of court proceedings against Li Shengwu, the eldest son of Lee Hsien Yang and nephew of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
The first pre-trial conference took place on Monday (13 November) at the Supreme Court. Yahoo News Singapore first reported that the AGC was proceeding with the case last week, citing sources familiar with the matter.
Abraham Vergis of Providence Law told Yahoo News Singapore that he had been engaged to represent Li, 32, a junior fellow at Harvard University.
Vergis said that no charges against Li were mentioned at the pre-trial conference, but that the specific charge was in the originating summons that had been filed by the AGC earlier.
He added that he informed the court that he needed time to review the court papers and that Senior Counsel Francis Ng had no objection to that. The case has therefore been adjourned to 4 December, where there will be another pre-trial conference to update the court about the status.
The case stems from a Facebook post Li made in July this year, relating to the dispute over his late grandfather Lee Kuan Yew’s home at 38 Oxley Road. The private post included a line that “the Singapore government is very litigious and has a pliant court system”. The AGC called the post an “egregious and baseless attack” on the judiciary.
Li later clarified that his post was not an attack on the judiciary. Rather, he said it was intended to criticise the “litigious nature” of the Singapore government and its effect on media freedom.
In August, AGC filed an application in the High Court to commence committal proceedings against Li for contempt of court over the post.
Li later amended the post, and he said the AGC had conceded that he did not need to delete the Facebook post after that.