SINGAPORE - A woman who spent a year in jail for poisoning her husband with arsenic will get about $882,000 from the split of the couple's $2.1 million matrimonial assets, the High Court has ruled.
Judicial Commissioner Tan Siong Thye overrode ex-husband Chan Tin Sun's objections to Madam Fong Quay Sim getting money as she had allegedly tried to kill him by lacing his tea and food with the chemical between 2004 and 2005.
"There is no relation between her act of poisoning him and her prior indirect contributions to the family," the judge said in judgment grounds released yesterday.
"On this basis, such indirect contributions must still be recognised."
The judge discounted her contributions after 2004 when the poisoning occurred, and clarified that Madam Fong was not charged with attempted murder.
He noted the Women's Charter required the court to look at all the circumstances of the case, which include any misconduct.
Madam Fong, 72, was convicted of causing hurt to her husband in 2010 and jailed after her High Court appeal failed in 2011.
She was released from prison in 2012, but Mr Chan refused to allow her into their matrimonial home in Siglap.
The couple were married for 34 years and have a son who is a vet in Hong Kong.
Mr Chan, a retired contractor, sued for divorce in 2011, and Madam Fong counterclaimed for his unreasonable behaviour, after being diagnosed as having suffered from a long history of chronic spousal emotional and verbal abuse.
A Family Court granted an interim divorce to both in 2011. The judicial commissioner said Madam Fong "reacted in a grossly disproportionate manner" by poisoning her husband, and he could not "turn a blind eye to the wife's malicious act".
The judge factored in her misconduct in awarding a lower maintenance lump sum of $18,000, rather than the $200,000 she had sought.
He added that she had not been plagued by ill health, unlike Mr Chan, who spent $128,000 in medical bills over three years and will spend more for the complications that arose from the arsenic poisoning. This also figured in the ruling on maintenance.
The court accepted that Mr Chan, represented by lawyer Andy Chiok, was the sole breadwinner who spent most of his time at work as a contractor.
The court also made clear that Madam Fong, defended by lawyer Wong Chai Kin, had made "significant" indirect contributions as a full-time housewife looking after her husband and son.
Among other things, Madam Fong had received inheritance totalling some $559,000 from her late mother in 1993 and late brother in 1995 which she used to help support her son's polytechnic studies here and tertiary education at Scotland's Glasgow University, as well as for household expenses.
The judge apportioned Madam Fong 42 per cent of the couple's matrimonial assets worth some $2.1 million, which included the private home at Dafne Street.
This included 7 per cent arising from Mr Chan's failure to account for some $705,000 which he withdrew from a bank account between 2009 and 2012.
The judge was not convinced by Mr Chan's claim that he invested in Indonesia, finding no credible evidence other than his frequent trips to Indonesia. This could "have very well been for leisure purposes" said the judge, noting Madam Fong had shown photographs of him posing intimately with his maid in Indonesia.
This article was first published on May 23, 2014.
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