SINGAPORE, July 2 (The Straits Times/ANN): A social media influencer has failed in her legal bid to stop another woman from obtaining correspondence between her and two men she is accused of being intimate with.
The influencer, Rachel Wong (pic), had appealed against a State Courts’ order to provide such documents to Olivia Wu, whom she is suing for defamation.
But High Court judge Choo Han Teck dismissed the appeal in a judgment on Tuesday (June 28), holding that the information sought by Wu to bolster her defence had been proven by her to be relevant and material for the lawsuit.
The court’s decision is the latest development in the ongoing lawsuit between the two women, which involves several stories posted by Ms Wu on her Instagram account in December 2020.
Titled “Cheater of 2020”, the stories suggested that Wong had been unfaithful to her former husband Anders Aplin.
Court documents did not spell out the relationship between Ms Wu and Ms Wong.
Wu, a part-time nurse who works in a pharmaceutical company, is reportedly acquainted with Aplin’s current girlfriend.
The stories were published while Wong’s marriage with Aplin, who is a footballer here, was undergoing annulment proceedings.
They were married in December 2019, but their marriage was legally annulled around March last year. The annulment proceedings started in April 2020.
Wong later sued Wu, claiming that the stories had caused her to suffer damage to her social media reputation and image, on which she was largely dependent “to attract and obtain business deals on partnerships” to earn a living.
The influencer argued that the stories – when read together with their title – meant that she had sex with her wedding emcee, Mr Alan Wan, on her wedding night and that she was promiscuous, among other things.
In her defence,Wu claimed that the stories were true and that Wong had been “more than intimate” with at least two men while she was in a romantic relationship with Aplin: her gym trainer – a Mr Han – and Mr Wan.
To support her case, she applied for a court order to obtain correspondence between Wong and the two men. She also sought Wong’s diary entries relating to Wan.
State Courts deputy registrar Lewis Tan allowed the application, and Wong later appealed to the High Court against the decision.
In his judgment on Tuesday, Justice Choo noted that Ms Wu’s lawyer Gerard Quek had submitted to the court photocopies of text messages depicting “lurid details” from a person named Chen Xuan Han. These messages did not show their recipient.
Justice Choo also disagreed with Wong that Wu’s application for the court order was scandalous and vexatious.
The correspondence sought may be proven to be scandalous, but only because of the nature of the subject matter of the defamation, he said.
Justice Choo said the narrative in Wong’s case was unclear.
“By a combination of Instagram-speak and the utter failure of counsel to translate that into English, (Ms Wong’s) statement of claim is filled with chaff,” he said.
The judge also noted Wong’s description of her Instagram account having 41,400 followers.
“That, I suppose, entitles her, in her estimation, to be a celebrity,” he said. – The Straits Times/ANN