LAWYERS FOR TOC AND DR TING WILL NOT RETRACT CLAIMS, MINDEF NOT A VICTIM UNDER HARASSMENT ACT

Lawyers for Dr Ting Choon Meng and The Online Citizen have rejected legal demands to stop making “false statements” regarding a patented mobile clinic as demanded by the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) and its legal representatives. Dr Ting claims that MINDEF has stolen his patented concept for an emergency mobile clinic after speaking to him about it at a trade fair in 2005

TOC has backed up Dr Ting’s claims and have refused to take down Dr Ting Choon Meng’s claims against Mindef from its website.

The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) wrote last month to both TOC and Dr Ting demanding them to stop repeating claims that MINDEF had copied Dr Ting’s patented concept. The AGC pointed out that Dr Ting’s patent had already been declared invalid by a court last year and revoked. The AGC advised that if Dr Ting wishes to pursue his case, he should sue the vehicle’s manufacturer, Syntech Engineers and not MINDEF..

The AGC also rejected Dr Ting’s claim that MINDEF had tried to force him to drop his case by delaying court proceedings to raise legal costs.

The AGC said unless its requests to put an end to these allegations were met, it would apply for a court order under the Protection from Harassment Act.

Lawyers for the doctor and TOC say however that Mindef does not qualify as a victim of harassment.

Dr Ting’s lawyer, Mr Choo Zheng Xi, said in a letter that the Harassment Act, which was effected last year November, was intended to protect vulnerable individuals, such as children and women, from incidents of cyberbullying or stalking. Mr Choo says the law should not be applied to large organisations like the Ministry of Defence, which has “ample resources to defend itself and publicly clarify its official position via public channels.”

Mr Choo also pointed out that Mindef had clarified its position on its Cyberpioneer Facebook page and in The Straits Times.

Dr Ting denies having made any “false statements” and “is unable to comply with your demands”.

TOC’s lawyer, Mr Eugene Thuraisingam, in a separate reply, said using the anti-harassment laws against his client would not be fair since it had published Dr Ting’s statement “responsibly and without bad faith or malice”.

He said TOC allowed MINDEF the right to reply by publishing an article with its rebuttals to Dr Ting’s claims.

When contacted, Dr Ting told Straits Times reporters last night: “The court case has concluded and both parties are entitled to speak their minds about what transpired. I hope no further court action will be necessary.”

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