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  • Writer's pictureRui

Statement on High Court decision regarding Ashley Liew Case

Updated: Mar 29, 2022

A big thank you to everyone who has reached out over the last few years to help in one way or another, be it via crowdfunding, clarifying falsehoods spewed on this case, or simply providing moral support.

Yesterday, the Honourable Justice Valerie Thean heard my appeal in the High Court. You can read what I feel is a very fair report on the hearing by Louisa Tang of TODAY newspaper here:

In Summary:

1) Our appeal on liability and the $180,000 in damages was dismissed.

2) However, Justice Valerie Thean ruled in our favour that I need not make a public apology to Ashley Liew, contrary to what District Judge Lee Li Choon ordered last September. I thank Justice Thean for this decision.

3) I was ordered to pay $18,000 for costs of the High Court appeal, in addition to about $125,000 that District Judge Lee Li Choon ordered me to pay last month for the costs of the district court trial.

Moving forward, I maintain that:

Contrary to reports that Ashley Liew “sacrificed his chance at a medal" by "slowing to a crawl”, Ashley Liew would not have won a medal whether or not he slowed down. In fact, Ashley Liew seemed to distance himself from these dramatic reports during the course of these legal proceedings.

25 July 2019, The Straits Times

2015 SEA Games Marathon Results - Ashley Liew finished in 8th place, 6min 52sec behind the bronze medalist. He only had about a 10sec advantage after the missed u-turn.

Reflections on this legal episode

A key quote from TODAY as follows: "Justice Valerie Thean noted that on a detailed examination of Mr Soh’s social media posts, she found that he had gone further than to simply say Dr Liew was undeserving of the fair play award, but in fact had painted a narrative of Dr Liew lying about slowing down."

Upon reflection, in my initial comments I could have stayed away from accusing Ashley Liew of "lying about slowing down" (which was held to be the central issue of this defamation case), and still made my main point that Ashley Liew would not have won a medal whether or not he slowed down - this is based on simple mathematics and common running knowledge in looking at the end results above.

Personally, I also believe that had I given my account of events in 2015 once I saw the initial news reports rather than choosing to remain silent and only speaking up in 2018, the outcome of things would have been very different. That's a lesson that we can all learn from.

Thank you for your help

I respect the Court's decision and will move forward from here. Useful lessons about how a court case works have been learnt and will not only help in law school but will also help make me a better lawyer in the future for clients that need help. A big thank you to everyone who has reached out and offered help and support in this matter. 💪

There are no further appeal routes left in the Singapore legal system, and so I will work towards paying off the ~$140,000 in legal costs ordered. Any assistance is much appreciated and will not go unnoticed.

With this episode behind us, I look forward to representing Singapore again as an athlete in the future, and eventually to represent those that need a lawyer who will fight to the end for the justice they seek in this world.

Crowdfunding Details

PayLah!/PayNow: 81012093

Bank Transfer: DBS 188-15744-0


For a full version of our appeal case run in the High Court, you can click here.

Table of Contents - Appeal

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