SISTER ADDRESSES COURT
Lee’s sister then stood up to address the court. She held a bundle of documents and said she actually did not need the adjournment and was prepared.
“I wish to state upfront that my family and I do not condone my brother’s wrongdoings,” she told District Judge Kamala Ponnampalam.
“In fact, as family members, our lives have been the most badly affected by his irresponsible actions,” she continued. “My mother and I have been financially supporting his four-year-old twin daughters in Japan, and my oldest brother who turns 42 this year is intellectually disabled and is unable to care for himself.”
She explained that her brother took large loans from his parents to pay for his “very hefty legal fees” for the previous trial and other legal matters.
“That was with the understanding that he wishes to pay them the moment the car is released. In other words, what he did is pledge the car to repay the loans he had taken from his parents,” she said.
She said her 76-year-old father took a loan from his “one and only life insurance” and is unable to repay the loan to date. He has been paying interest to the insurance company, she said.
Lee’s sister continued to say that her mother pawned her jewellery to loan her son a large sum of money.
“In addition, my mom and I have been paying for his children’s expenses all this while,” said Lee’s sister.
“So while my brother legally owns the vehicle, the fact that he has pledged the proceeds of the vehicle to return my parents the money, essentially we can argue – that makes my parents the de facto owners of the vehicle,” she said.
She added that when her brother was first convicted in 2001 – also for driving while under disqualification – he was not even 18 and had not gone to army.
“A mistake is still a mistake, he has done wrong and by law according to the provision stated the court has every right to forfeit the vehicle,” said Lee’s sister. “But what we are trying to put across is the first conviction was when he’s not even 18 … it’s a little harsh to take that into consideration.”
The judge asked if the term “pledge” was used casually or legally, and asked if the family would be seeking legal advice.
Lee’s sister said they had no documents to prove the “pledge” as the transfer of ownership of the vehicle could not take place while the vehicle was impounded.
She added that they did not intend to seek further legal advice.
“I fail to see the correlation between personal loans given by your parents to your brother to help him out,” said the judge.
“And this vehicle, I’m not sure what its market value is, or how much we can obtain for it.”
She adjourned the forfeiture hearing to Feb 27.
Lee’s sister declined to speak to the media.