Prosecution in re-examination invites witness to guess intentions behind defendants’ emails. Defense objects.
The afternoon’s court session—the re-examination of prosecution witness Tiang Yii by deputy public prosecutor Mavis Chionh—was short but animated.
Chionh’s re-examination seemed an attempt to reverse Tiang’s responses to the defense counsel over the last day and a half.
In what was possibly the liveliest few minutes in the whole week of court, Chionh brought up an email between Tan Ye Peng and Serina Wee.
The court saw that in the email chain, Tan had asked Wee to meet Foong in order to seek Foong’s advice in speaking to Xtron’s engagement partner Sim Guan Seng about concerns following the release of the Xtron draft audit report for the financial year 2007. The concerns pertained to disclosure on Xtron’s going concern status and the purpose of the Xtron bonds, among other matters.
Tan said to Wee in his email to “meet Foong alone. Not Mr Sim. Explain to Foong that it’s precisely because we cannot show a link to CHC, ask him to advise you how to speak to Sim… It’s like a off the record meeting.”
Chionh then posed the question to Tiang if she thought “Mr Tan was under the impression that whatever Ms Wee told Mr Foong would be equivalent to telling the firm and would be passed on to the firm?”
Chionh’s question was met with multiple objections by senior counsel N. Sreenivasan on grounds that the question was inappropriate and not legitimate, and was equivalent to asking the witness to read minds. Senior counsel Andre Maniam added that Chionh was “seeking opinion evidence” as to the state of mind of another person based on a document that the witness was not part of.
However, the court allowed Chionh’s question and the witness was given the option of not answering the question if she was unable to.
Tiang’s opinion was that the email “expressly stated ‘not Mr Sim’ and the last bit where it says ‘it is like an off-the-record meeting’—these are alarm bells, actually. So it is like intentional omission.” When Chionh prompted her with the question Why, Tiang opined that she felt Tan and Wee had “something to hide from the auditors.”
In another document which Tan has sent to Foong, Chionh pointed out a question he asked Foong that mirrored a question that Tiang had asked Wee, about CHC’s role in the bond subscription agreement between Xtron and AMAC. She then asked Tiang to guess what Tan’s intention was.
Again Sreenivasan objected that Chionh was asking Tiang to read Tan’s mind. This time, the court disallowed the question.
Court will resume tomorrow with the examination-in-chief of Tan Yew Meng at 9:30am.