The recent case involving former domestic worker Parti Liyani and her employer is troubling and horrifying to read, said Singapore People’s Party (SPP) member Khan Osman Sulaiman on Sunday (6 Sep).
Mr Osman also called on the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) to clarify why it had decided to prosecute Ms Parti with the kind of evidence that was presented.
Last Friday (4 Sep), the High Court dismissed the convictions of Ms Parti for the four theft charges brought against her by the AGC four years after she was first arrested by the Singapore Police at the Changi Airport.
She was earlier arrested by the Police on 2 December 2016 and subsequently charged by the AGC on 27 August 2017 after her former employer, Mr Liew Mun Leong – who is the Chairman of Changi Airport Group – accused her to have stolen items from him and his family members on 30 Oct 2016.
Ms Parti was then convicted of the four charges in March 2019 and sentenced to 26 months of imprisonment by District Judge Olivia Low on 25 March 2019.
In the appeal, her Defence Counsel, Mr Anil Balchandani, argued that the Liew family brought the present allegations against her in order to prevent her from returning to Singapore and lodging a complaint to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) about her illegal deployment by the family after her services was abruptly terminated in October 2016.
From the detailed judgement from Justice Chan, it is clear that this is not a case where the accused was acquitted because of some legal technicality but based on the merits of the defence’s argument.
Following the controversial legal drama that transpired, Mr Osman, who was part of the SPP team that contested in Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC in GE2020, took to his Facebook yesterday to express how “troubling and horrifying” it is to read about the whole case.
“Parti’s employer seems to have no qualm to destroy an individual’s life with a police report designed to incarcerate her. They should be barred from holding any position of power lest someone gets on their nerve and they exact vengeance again,” he asserted.
Mr Osman also called out the prosecution for its “failure to sniff the deceit by the employer at first instance”, adding that it is the prosecution’s duty and care to ensure that they only proceed to “charge someone in court on the basis that it has strong merit”.
He stressed that the prosecution should have scrutinized “all the evidence meticulously” before deciding to go ahead and press charges.
“Or was it because the employer is someone of high status in the society that the police gloss over the details mentioned by the court of appeal and assume the case has credibility because of the status of the employer?” Mr Osman questioned.
The SPP member went on to say that the case would not have proceeded in the first place had the Singapore Police Force “look at it in greater scrutiny”.
“If the prosecution team had look at the case critically, it does not require a genius mind to arrive at the same conclusion of the appeal judge and avoid the lengthy court process, and at the same time spare someone the anxiety, stress, embarassment and hardship from this whole unfortunate episode,” he argued.
Mr Osman then called on the AGC to clarify why it had decided to prosecute Ms Parti with the kind of evidence that was presented, adding that it should also “review its decision process to avoid such cases from happening again”.
“The prosecution’s role should not only be to convict a criminal but also to weigh on the other aspect of justice. I hope this case will be the eye opener for the AGC’s office and how it can better execute justice in a manner where it also protects the innocent,” he remarked.