Lawyers try to show linesman 'unreliable'

Lawyers try to show linesman 'unreliable'

Defence lawyers on Friday sought to prove that a statement given by Lebanese linesman Abdallah Taleb to Singapore authorities was "inaccurate and unreliable".

This, as the trial of alleged match-fixer Eric Ding Si Yang took another turn yesterday, with the defence producing statements given by two deported Lebanese officials including Mr Taleb, 37, to their lawyer in Beirut, Lebanon.

The two new statements, obtained earlier this week, supposedly contradict claims in their statements to the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) when they were arrested in April.

Linesmen Taleb and Ali Eid, 33, were sent home after completing their three-month jail terms.

Although they said they would return to testify against Ding, a businessman, they declined to show up. This prompted an ancillary hearing, where District Judge Toh Yung Cheong ruled that their statements were admissible.

Ding, 31, is on trial for allegedly bribing the linesmen and referee Ali Sabbagh, 34, with prostitutes in return for fixing a match. Mr Sabbagh testified against Ding while serving his six-month jail term. He was deported after serving his sentence.

If convicted, Ding faces up to five years in jail, a fine of up to $100,000, or both.

Defence lawyer Yusfiyanti Yatiman suggested Mr Taleb might not have been in the right frame of mind when he was questioned by the CPIB, as he was on the medication Atarax.

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