Lim v Ng

CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
JudgeButtrose J
Judgment Date17 May 1968
Neutral Citation[1968] SGHC 13
Citation[1968] SGHC 13
Docket NumberDivorce No 148 of 1966
Subject MatterWhether intention was necessary element for cruelty,Grounds for divorce,Family Law,Divorce,Mental cruelty,Whether cumulative conduct of respondent amounted to cruelty
Plaintiff CounselG Starforth Hill (Rodyk & Davidson)
Published date19 September 2003
Defendant CounselSK Lee (SK Lee & Co)
Date17 May 1968

This is a wife`s petition for divorce on the ground of her husband`s cruelty. Legal cruelty may be defined as conduct of such a character as to have caused danger to life, limb or health (bodily or mental), or as to give rise to a reasonable apprehension of such danger. The cruelty of which complaint is made here is not physical but mental cruelty.

The petitioner, who was an adopted child, was married to the respondent on 23 April 1960 and there is one child of the marriage, a girl Yolanda, who was born on 9 December 1964.

That the marriage has completely broken down is beyond doubt and I am satisfied that it has irretrievably come to an end.

The petitioner says that the marriage has broken down because of the respondent`s conduct towards and treatment of her and she cannot continue to reside under the same roof with him any longer and that her health has been seriously undermined and impaired.

The medical evidence, which I accept, is that at the time the petitioner left the respondent her condition was what I think can fairly be described as a moderately severe anxiety state which if not checked and the cause removed could lead to a very serious condition ultimately resulting possibly in suicide.

The opinion of the two doctors called on behalf of the petitioner was that this anxiety state from which she was suffering was precipitated by her husband`s conduct and behaviour and a marital situation which was beyond reconciliation.

The medical evidence was attacked by the respondent on the ground that it did not support the petitioner`s case because it was coloured and tainted and that the matter was highly in doubt. Dr Stephens was a completely disinterested witness who was merely performing his professional duties in the correct and proper manner. That Professor Ransome was ill-advised and misguided in his attempts to mediate in these proceedings, nobody can deny. It was for this reason, among others, that I took upon myself the somewhat unusual course of having Professor Ransome recalled in order that I could satisfy myself as to the purpose of his somewhat curious machinations in connection with this case.

As a result I am quite satisfied as to his genuineness and honesty of purpose in doing what he did, regrettable though I consider it was in the circumstances of this case, and his professional opinion and evidence is in no way tainted or coloured thereby.

Dr Wong Yip Chong called by the respondent to criticize the evidence of Dr Stephens and Professor Ransome never saw or spoke to the petitioner nor did he hear or see her giving evidence in the witness box. I was indebted to him for a lucid and informative dissertation on the doctor-patient relationship and other matters but his evidence was of little real value in determining the issues in this case. He did however say that if the symptoms as recorded by Dr Stephens and confirmed by Professor Ransome were genuine and correct he considered that both of them were probably right in coming to the conclusion that it was an exogenous depression - an anxiety state. Dr Stephens and Professor Ransome were fully alive to the necessity of distinguishing between the malingerer and the genuine patient and Dr Stephens further said that the petitioner did not overplay her hand when he examined her and there was a reasonable and coherent pattern about her statements.

I find as a fact that there was injury to the petitioner`s health and a reasonable apprehension of further serious injury to...

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1 cases
  • Ng v Lim
    • Singapore
    • Federal Court (Singapore)
    • 16 November 1968
    ...2 The respondent's conduct of which the petitioner complained was summarised by the learned trial judge in the following words ( [1968-1970] SLR (R) 109 at [14] to [20]): 14 The marriage did not turn out to be a happy one virtually right from the start and frequent quarrels broke out betwee......

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