'Gag deal' lawsuit: Dispute over whether oral agreement existed

The swimming coach sued by her stepmother over a $1 million "gag deal" not to comment on the family was only "defending" MP Foo Mee Har when she posted on a Channel News Asia forum in October 2012, a court heard yesterday.

Ms Wendy Chan Mei Yoke, 49, also claimed she had not mentioned her link to the West Coast GRC MP, who is married to Madam Eleanor Tan Kok Neo's son.

Under the thread "Wow Ms Foo Mee Har wants to know is $1 mil HDB flat a norm in future", Ms Chan allegedly replied to another user: "I obviously cannot comment on your bimbo statement but it is a fact that she is with stan chart."

She is accused by Madam Tan, 79, of breaching an agreement, originally made in 2011, not to say or write anything about her or her family. The pact was modified after mediation in 2012 to allow remarks about the family as long as they were not "defamatory, scandalous or untrue".

But Madam Tan says Ms Chan broke a verbal promise at the session to honour her "paramount concern" - that Ms Chan not comment about the family at all. She also alleges she was misled into agreeing to the amended terms. The retiree wants the new agreement set aside and is seeking unspecified damages and a court order against Ms Chan.

Under cross-examination by Madam Tan's lawyer Twang Kern Zern yesterday, the second day of the trial, Ms Chan said no such oral agreement existed. She had stuck to the new terms when writing in the thread on a Parliament discussion Ms Foo had taken part in, she added.

"If your intention in posting the comment was to remark on rising property prices, why would you feel the need to write the first paragraph?" asked Mr Twang.

Ms Chan later said: "I don't even acknowledge she is my sister-in-law, in fact I defended her when someone called her a bimbo."

She also said yesterday she found the pact terms "onerous" as she wanted to be able to respond to questions about her family, as well as acknowledge and be acknowledged by them. "The difficulty is that I cannot say, 101 per cent, nothing."

Ms Chan, who was born out of wedlock after Madam Tan's late husband, Dr Harold Chan Wah Kim, had an affair, claims that her four half-siblings and brother are the "true litigants" of the suit.

According to court documents, she had tried her best to integrate with the family after being taken to live at the family home in Lornie Road at age seven. But she could always sense "deep resentment" from her half-siblings. The three-day trial is expected to conclude today.


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