MR TANG Liang Hong wants to start a "fresh action" to strike out the Court of Appeal's judgment yesterday, which reduced the damages he had to pay for defaming Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong and other People's Action Party leaders.
Speaking to the Straits Times in a telephone interview from Melbourne last night, he said that he hoped to visit London as soon as possible to consult his lawyer, Queen's Counsel Charles Gray, on the next course of action.
He added that the reduction of damages for the 12 defamation actions, from $7.175 million to $3.63 milion, was just a "smokescreen" to mislead the public into believing that justice had been done to him.
Referring to the three judges -- Justice M. Karthigesu, L. P. Thean and G. P. Selvam -- who heard the appeal in September, he said: "Justice was the last thing on their minds when they were sitting in the Court of Appeal. All they were interested in was to find and devise a coverage for the politicians in power."
He added that he had expected the Court of Appeal not to give legal effect to the worldwide Mareva injunction, which was issued in January to freeze his assets, but it had not done so.
But the injunction, he argued, had been obtained through "fraud and deception".
This was because the 11 PAP plaintiffs, in seeking to obtain the injunction against him, had misled Justice Lai Kew Chai earlier this year into believing that it was Mr Tang who had caused the two police reports he had made about the plaintiffs to be released for publication.
This, he said, had been shown to be untrue as Mr Goh had admitted in August that he was the one who authorised Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew to release the reports to the press to be published.
As such, he argued, the injunction was void and thus "not enforceable".
"No one should be allowed any benefit from that injunction, which was obtained by improper means. This is a very basic principle," he said.
He added that he had been denied the chance to defend himself because he had not complied with the injunction's orders to declare his assets.
"Because of the non-compliance of the Mareva Injunction, which was void in law, my defences were struck out.
"It was not because I did not have a good defence or that I did not have a legal ground, but because I was not allowed to defend," he added.
Mr Tang fled Singapore soon after he was defeated in the Jan 2 general election, in which he stood as a Workers' Party candidate.