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Widow Who Sued Sister-in-Law for Calling Her 'Rotten' Awarded $40k in Damages

A widow in Singapore wanted $4 million in damage but was granted $40,000 instead for suing her husband’s sister after she defamed her at her father-in-law’s wake. 

48-year old Lim Siew Ling had sued her sister-in-law, 57-years old Neo Choon Sian for branding her ‘rotten woman’ and for accusing her of embezzling money from the family firm and other things, according to the straits times.

Some of her demands are granted but others are dismissed for appropriate reasons.

Straits times

Demanding for Damages

According to the High Judge that presided over the case on July 12, the number of damages that Ms. Lim demanded was “entirely overblown and out of all proportion compared to existing precedent”.

The lawyer of Ms. Lim appealed for $100,000 in non-pecuniary damages, another $100,000 in aggravated damages, as well as $3.9 million in exemplary damages. 

In an example by Justice Mavis Chionh, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was granted $33,000 in aggravated damages and $100,000 in non-pecuniary losses in his defamation suit contrary to financial advisor Leong Sze Hian.

Still Entitled for an Amount

With this example, public leaders like those in the government as well as those who are working in private and public sectors are customarily entitled to damages with larger amounts due to the nature of their work or public service as well as their status in the Singaporean commonwealth according to the judge.

“The plaintiff cannot be described as a public leader, yet the quantum of damages argued for on her behalf exceeds the quantum of damages awarded to public leaders in many of the cases which have come before the court,” said Justice Chionh.

The judge also said, even though Ms. Lim is not qualified for the damages that are entitled to a public servant, she will still be granted some amounts for damages deemed detrimental to her. 

Ms. Lim was awarded $40,000, due to the gravity of defamation she experienced. This is due to the fact that Ms. Neo addressed the complaint to the bank manager at the wake that she never spoke to but was aware that he has a business affair with Ms. Lim. The judge also added that Ms. Neo’s motive is to defame Ms. Lim at the wake.

Ms. Neo’s Claims

Ms. Neo was prosecuted for the statements she made in the wake of her father and also in the presence of PCC or Prime Cars Credit employees on two separate occasions, one in June and one in August 2018. 

PCC was founded by Mr. Jacky Neo in 2006, the late husband of Ms. Lim and Ms. Neo’s brother. After his death, Lim inherited his shares and ended up in conflict with his two sisters who are also shareholders of the company.

Ms. Neo labeled Ms. Lim as a ‘rotten woman’ at her father’s wake about her alleged relationship with a man named Ng Boon Chong. She also allegedly stated that she “was an immoral woman who has many sexual partners”.

Although the judge said that Ms. Neo’s words are upheld, Lim admitted that she committed an extra-marital affair in another proceeding, but Neo’s actions to accuse her of embezzling money were deemed defamatory. She also stated that Ms. Neo is pertaining to another man which is different from the one in Ms. Lim’s allegations.

“It is true that she was in an extra-marital relationship with Ng at the material time,” said the judge.

The judge said, “The ordinary reasonable man… would have understood the first defendant to be suggesting or implying that the plaintiff had committed an offense that would carry serious punishment including imprisonment.”

Conclusion

Ms.Lim was merited with non-pecuniary damages of $25,000 plus aggravated damages of $15,000 by Justice Chionh. For merits and bonuses, sign up now in sg pools for exciting slot games and other game titles.