THE High Court yesterday dismissed with costs two defamation suits by the Workers’ Party, arising from an election rally speech by Mr. Tay Boon Too, then a PAP candidate for Paya Lebar, at Lorong Tai Seng on Aug. 25, 1972.
The plaintiff had claimed that the two defendants had defamed the party with a claim, allegedly attributed to Mr. Tay, that it had received $600,000 from Kuala Lumpur (in the suit against Mr. Tay) and “from a foreign country” in the action against the Broadcasting Department, when this was “false”.
The two defendants, the judge observed, had not sought to justify their statements that the plaintiff had received the money.
The action against Mr. Tay, which was for slander, failed on the main ground raised on his behalf – that the plaintiff had not proved in law the “publication” of the words complained of.”
Mr. Tay’s speech was in Hokkien and there was no evidence before the court and also in the plaintiff’s amended statement of claim of the Hokkien words which the plaintiff regarded as “defamatory.”
The judge said the only official language of the court was English and it was fatal to the plaintiff’s case not to have the original words, as alleged spoken in Hokkien, set out in its pleadings.
The Broadcasting Department, sued for libel, succeeded in its defence, raised in its pleadings, that its news bulletin reports on the subject matter were “fair and accurate” and related to “a privileged occasion” (an election rally).