Changi Airport Director Liew Mun Leong and his family’s case against their former domestic helper Parti Liyani was thrown out after a High Court appeal on the part of the defendant overturned the conviction.
What is the case Changi Airport Director Liew Mun Leong involved in?
According to a report by The Straits Times, the family accuses Parti Liyani of theft of various items that ranged from broken iPhones to broken knick-knacks after she left their employ in 2016. The same report said she had worked with them since 2007.
Liyani was charged with four thefts, but Justice Chan Seng Onn overturned her convictions and allowed her appeal.
What was the defence?
The same report said that Liyani’s lawyer was able to prove that members of the Liew family used the theft case filed against her in court to preempt a filing of her own employment case against them.
According to Anil Balchandani, who took on her case pro bono, argued that his client was being framed for theft so she could not file a case of illegal deployment against the family.
The lawyer argued that aside from working for the Liew family, she was also asked to clean the office and home of Karl Liew, who the Changi Airport Director’s son.
The judge said that Liew and his son, Karl, had an improper motive in filing their theft cases against her just to stop her from complaining about her extra deployment to Karl’s home.
The judge, however, said that the whole family did not collude to file a case against Liyani, since the defence failed to cross-examine Karl Liew’s wife and sister Cheng May, so their motives could be heard in court.
What did the Liew family accuse Liyani of?
According to the theft cases filed against her, Liyani allegedly put stolen items into the boxes that she had packed to be sent on to her after she was terminated. On October 28, 2016, Karl had told her that her employment was terminated and that she had two hours to pack her things. She put all her belongings into three jumbo boxes, and mentioned that she wanted to lodge a complaint with the Ministry of Manpower.
She returned to Indonesia that same day and told Karl to pay to send the boxes to her. The family opened the boxes the next day, and checked the items for two hours. A 21-second video was recorded to show them rummaging through the boxes.
The Straits Times report said that the family found items that belonged to the Liew family members, and a police report was lodged late on OCtober 30. The police only examined the evidence five weeks later on December 3.
Coincidentally, this was the day after Liyani returned to Singapore.
What did she “steal?”
Liyani said that the items she had put in the boxes were her own items, things that she had found the family discarded, and some things that were simply not paced inside.
The chain o custody of evidence provided the judge with reasonable doubt on whether some of the items were really stolen. The police also told the family to use the items in Liyani’s box freely.
Karl had also admitted that some of the items in the box such as women’s clothing, were stolen from him as he sometimes wore women’s shirts. There was also a damaged Gerald Genta watch valued at $25,000 despite being broken. There was a Pioneer DVD player, two iPhones, a damaged Prada bag and a stained pair of Gucci sunglasses.
The judge said that many of the items the family said were stolen were also old, broken, or cheap.