High Court judge, Mr Kan Ting Chiu, refused to give Dr Chee Soon Juan time to prepare his closing submissions on his application to reconvene the hearing for assessment of damages. Dr Chee had made the application so that the two former prime ministers could be re-called to the stand for cross-examination on the questions regarding the Indonesian loan. Dr Chee had made the following statement in court explaining why he wanted time to prepare his submissions.
I would like to relate the factors for my not being able to make my closing submissions today:
1. I have been put on the stand for cross-examination for two days, starting on 3 November and ending only in the afternoon of 4 November. Now I am called to give submissions on the morning of 5 November.
2. In addition, following my cross-examination on 4 November I had to prepare my submissions on another application to cross-examine Mr Lee Kuan Yew [which the judge also dismissed] which took me all of the later afternoon and evening of the day.
3. I am without counsel and did not have the benefit of someone taking notes of my own cross-examination.
4. Also I don't have the court transcripts which I need to help me prepare my submissions.
5. The plaintiffs counsel has the benefit of four other lawyers with him to take notes and prepare their submissions.
Given these factors, I would like to ask the court to give me one day to get the transcripts and prepare my closing submissions so that the courts will have the benefit of a properly prepared comprehensive and cogent submissions without which you would not be able to make a proper and just decision. (Even lawyers ask for, and are given, days to prepare their closing submissions especially when the case involves cross-examinations.)
If the courts so decide to proceed despite what I have said, then I must protest in the strongest manner possible against this unfair and unjust treatment. I make this statement in the interest that justice be served.
The judge disregarded Dr Chee's appeal and proceeded to hear Mr Davinder Singhs closing submissions. He called for a lunch break after which he dismissed Dr Chees application to reconvene the hearing for assessment of damages.
(5 Nov 2004)