Apr 22, 2011
Ex-detainee's suit settled out of court
By Cai Haoxiang
Dr Lim had sued four parties over an error in a book.
A DEFAMATION suit filed by former political detainee Lim Hock Siew against four parties over a news item in a book has been settled out of court.
The four sued by Dr Lim, 80, were book publisher Editions Didier Millet (EDM), the National Library Board, book editor-in-chief Peter Lim and printer Tien Wah Press.
Dr Lim said yesterday that under the settlement, EDM, which published the book titled Chronicle Of Singapore: Fifty Years Of Headlines News (1959-2009), apologised for an offending item in it and paid him an undisclosed sum.
The apology appears in today's edition of The Straits Times.
All unsold copies of the book have been withdrawn from circulation after the discovery of the error, and the page will be replaced before the book is made available again.
Dr Lim sued the four in February. He took issue with an item headlined 'Lim Chin Siong hurt in prison fight'. The item, culled from newspapers, said Dr Lim and his supporters were in a fight at Changi Prison with fellow detainee and Barisan Sosialis secretary-general Lim Chin Siong and his supporters.
In the suit, Dr Lim said there was 'no truth in the report that there was a fight' and the 'widespread publication' of the offending words seriously tarnished his reputation and caused him considerable hurt, distress and embarrassment.
Dr Limwas a political activist first with the People's Action Party and then the opposition Barisan Sosialis. In 1963, he was arrested and detained without trial for nearly 20 years before his release in 1982.
Details of the fight and a reported injury to Mr Lim were first published in 1965 in The Straits Times and in the Chinese daily Sin Chew Jit Poh. But in 1966, the newspapers - in court hearings on libel suits against them by Dr Lim and Mr Lim - settled the cases. In statements read at the time, their lawyers confirmed that there was no truth in the allegations about Dr Lim and Mr Lim in the articles.
The article was based on information from an outside source which was believed at the time to be reliable and genuine, but subsequently found to be false, the lawyers had said.
Mr Peter Lim, a former editor-in-chief of Singapore Press Holdings' English and Malay newspapers who oversaw the book's editorial team, joined the publishers in apologising.
Said Dr Lim yesterday: 'Since they said they were not malicious and it was an innocent error, we settled.'