Judge rejects MD's bid for protection order against ex-worker
A judge has rejected a managing director's move for a protection order against harassment, ruling that while there was harassment, the culprit was not likely to continue doing it.
In a case that tested when such an order under the Protection from Harassment Act would be issued, the judge made clear there has to be two elements: harassment and its likelihood of continuing.
"All things considered, the (culprit's) conduct post-June 9, 2018, pointed towards an attempt to contain rather than to perpetuate the conflict," said District Judge Josephine Kang.
"In the premises, I found that the harassment was unlikely to continue. I also found that a future contravention was unlikely," she added in decision grounds made last month.
Mr Lai Kwok Kin, then 59, had applied for the protection order against former employee Jackson Teo, then 35, alleging he used threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour that breached the relevant provisions of the Act.
Mr Teo had a run-in with interns at Mr Lai's company - financial communications company WeR1 Consultants - after starting work on May 18, 2018.
He resigned 11 days later after a meeting with Mr Lai and two company officials.
After he quit, Mr Teo sent allegedly offensive texts and e-mails, as well as posted online reviews and a blog titled A Cautionary Tale, which Mr Lai argued was tantamount to harassment.
District Judge Kang said she found one of three e-mails sent to Mr Lai in May 2018 to contain several instances of threatening and insulting communication. Taken as a whole, the e-mail threatened to harm Mr Lai's livelihood and reputation.
She also found the reviews and blog posts to have insulting comments about Mr Lai.
Mr Lai, represented by lawyer Nandwani Manoj Prakash, said Mr Teo's communication left him "shaken" and caused sleepless nights and heart palpitations.
Mr Teo, defended by lawyer Nicholas Poon, argued that by June 9, 2018, he had removed the adverse reviews of his own accord and his e-mail then was "relatively conciliatory", indicating his intention to resolve the matter amicably.
He made no further offending communications against Mr Lai, and had taken down the blog in August 2018 when notified that it remained live.
Given these actions and finding no objective evidence that Mr Lai had suffered prolonged stress-related physiological symptoms from the incident, District Judge Kang ruled it was "not just and equitable for a (protection order) to be issued".
Mr Lai is appealing against the decision.