By Ng Wan Ching
BALLS were bounced about in the warm, stuffy court room that was 3B yesterday.
Over 20 members of the public had packed the public gallery since 2pm. Extra benches had to be brought in.
The crowd grew restless waiting as the hearing did not start till 5pm. But most stayed to the end to hear the case which has gripped their imagination.
They were not disappointed.
Instead of a long, arduous session, they were hit left and right by sporting analogies.
Was it a "technical knockout" or a "slam dunk", the justice asked? No, no. It's more like an own goal, the senior counsel argued.
Wah, NBA (National Basketball Association) and EPL (English Premier League)? The crowd tittered.
They had come to watch the case of Dr Susan Lim, a private surgeon, who is fighting the Singapore Medical Council's (SMC) decision to appoint a second disciplinary committee to investigate an accusation by the Health Ministry here that she overcharged her Brunei patient, Pengiran Anak Hajah Damit.
Her bill for services over a five-month period from Jan 15 to June 16, 2007 came to $26 million (with GST).
Dr Lim's patient, the younger sister of the Queen of Brunei and cousin of the Sultan, had breast cancer. She died in August 2007. The Bruneians paid all Dr Lim's bills up to March 2007.
After the patient died, Dr Lim was queried on the rest of the 2007 bill.
Yesterday, due to some discussion in chambers, the court hearing did not start until past 5pm.
Among those in the public gallery was Mr Deepak Sharma, Dr Lim's banker husband, and a journalist from The Brunei Times, who had flown here to cover the case.
She said that the case had become a talking point back home.