Parti Liyani initiates court disciplinary proceedings against her case's prosecutors

Parti Liyani and her lawyer Anil Balchandani exiting the High Court on 4 September after her acquittal. (PHOTO: Grace Baey)
Parti Liyani and her lawyer Anil Balchandanil. (PHOTO: Grace Baey)

SINGAPORE — Parti Liyani, the former domestic helper of ex-Changi Airport Group chairman Liew Mun Leong, has began court disciplinary proceedings against prosecutors in her case.

She and her lawyer, Anil Balchandani, attended a High Court pre-trial conference on Wednesday (23 September) against representatives from the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC).

The hearing was for an originating summons under Section 82A of the Legal Profession Act. Section 82A covers misconduct by legal service officers or non-practising solicitors.

The respondents listed in the case are two deputy public prosecutors who dealt with her trial: Tan Wee Hao and Tan Yanying. They are represented by AGC’s Kristy Tan, Jeyendran Jeyapal and Jocelyn Teo.

If the Chief Justice grants Parti leave for an investigation to be made into the complaint of misconduct, he may appoint a disciplinary tribunal.

The tribunal will then hear the case and investigate the complaint, before submitting its findings to the Chief Justice. He can dismiss the complaint if the tribunal finds no cause of sufficient gravity for disciplinary action, or give orders to have punishments imposed.

Penalties include censures, being struck off the roll, penalty of up to $20,000, or any other order a disciplinary tribunal deems fit.

When contacted by Yahoo News Singapore, Balchandani declined comment. Yahoo News Singapore has also contacted Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics – the non-governmental organisation supporting Parti – for comment.

Issues with conviction findings, how case was handled

Earlier this month, Parti was acquitted by the High Court of stealing $34,000 worth of items from Liew. This came after she was initially convicted in a lower court.

In Justice Chan Seng Onn's judgment on her acquittal, he highlighted several issues with the conviction findings and how the case was handled.

In one instance, Parti was accused of stealing a DVD player, which she said had been thrown away by the family because it did not work.

Prosecutors later conceded that there were difficulties with the functionality of the machine, but did not disclose this to the trial judge nor to Parti, when it was produced as evidence and shown to be functional in other ways.

This earned criticism from Justice Chan, who said that the trial court could be misled into thinking that the DVD player was in good working condition when "questions were (and unfairly) put to Ms Parti...on the basis that the DVD player was still in a good working condition after an incomplete demonstration of its important functionalities during the trial”.

Justice Chan added that the rule against introducing evidence from the bar should apply equally to both the prosecution and defence, and said the DVD player incident was “particularly prejudicial” to Parti as she was not given a chance to test the player until the trial itself.

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