Ng v Lim

JudgeChoor Singh J
Judgment Date16 November 1968
Neutral Citation[1968] SGFC 17
Docket NumberCivil Appeal No Y19 of 1968
Date16 November 1968
Published date19 September 2003
Plaintiff CounselSK Lee (SK Lee & Co)
Citation[1968] SGFC 17
Defendant CounselGS Hill (Rodyk & Davidson)
CourtFederal Court (Singapore)
Subject MatterStandard of proof,Proof of evidence,Petition for divorce based on cruelty,Standard of proof beyond reasonable doubt,Evidence

In this case a wife (hereinafter called `the petitioner`) presented a petition for divorce against her husband (hereinafter called `the respondent`) alleging that, since the celebration of their marriage, the respondent has treated the petitioner with cruelty. The case was heard by Buttrose J, who pronounced a decree nisi for the dissolution of the marriage and made certain consequential orders. It is against this decision that the respondent has brought this appeal.

The respondent`s conduct of which the petitioner complained was summarised by the learned trial judge in the following words:-

The marriage did not turn out to be a happy one virtually right from the start and frequent quarrels broke out between them and they had nothing in common. The respondent was a man of ungovernable temper who would flare up for no reason at all. He was offensive and used obscene and vulgar language to her. She did not complain to her parents because she was too ashamed to do so. The respondent threatened that he would give her hell if she did so.

He often asked her if she wanted a divorce she had better think about it and if she wanted one he would give it to her.
The respondent continually insisted that he was physically and mentally a superior being to her and that she must never stand up to him but must give way all the time. It was the petitioner who had to do the patching up after these scenes and frequently for days afterwards when she endeavoured to speak to him he would ignore her.

At parties and on social visits the respondent ignored her and went off to talk with his friends.
On returning home he would become angry and ask her why she had sat there looking like a fool, so dumb and stupid. When going to the cinema he would stalk on ahead leaving her to wander along behind him and telling her if she walked so slowly she must walk by herself.

The respondent criticized her cooking saying that even a servant could do better.
She drove the respondent to work every day and on arrival he would get out and slam the door without a word of thanks or even goodbye. The respondent never gave her enough pocket money and she was forced to go to work to obtain some and even after the birth of the baby.

With regard to their marital relations the respondent was rough and crude and would force himself upon her when she was about to fall asleep and very tired.
If she ignored his advances he became very angry and said `You think yourself so wonderful, if I want it and cant`s get it from you, I will go to a prostitute`s.

The arrival of the child Yolanda brought no change in the respondent`s conduct except that he was very happy over the baby and said to the petitioner that now they had Yolanda she would always come first.
He even criticized his wife`s bringing up of Yolanda. His gospel apparently was discipline with love. He resented his wife giving Yolanda a spanking on one occasion when he saw four red weals on her thigh. He resented her spending her own money. Then there was the incident of the $200 cheque which respondent was reluctant to give her and delayed doing so which was apparently the last straw which broke the camel`s back.

In short the petitioner could do nothing right and finally as she could endure his conduct no longer and her health was breaking down she left him and sought refuge in the home of her parents.

Two doctors were called on behalf of the petitioner to give evidence as to the state of her health.
These two doctors were Dr Stephens and Professor Ransome. The medical evidence, which was accepted by the learned trial judge, was that at the time the petitioner left the respondent her condition was what could fairly be described as a moderately severe anxiety state; if this anxiety state was not checked and the cause of it was not removed, it could have led to a serious condition ultimately resulting in suicide. Dr Stephens and Professor Ransome were both of the opinion that this anxiety state from which the petitioner was suffering was precipitated by the respondent`s conduct and behaviour and a marital situation which was beyond reconciliation.

Counsel for the respondent has submitted that Professor Ransome`s evidence should not be accepted because he is a very biassed witness.
He has pointed out that Professor Ransome was a very good friend of the petitioner`s father and has also referred to the fact that Professor Ransome had approached the respondent`s sister and the latter`s husband with a view to persuading the respondent to agree to a divorce. It is apparent from the record that the learned trail judge was fully aware of the dual role that was being played by Professor Ransome, the first being his official role as a consultant and the second being his self-appointed role as a mediator. The...

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2 cases
  • Koh Teng Lam v Koh Chen Chee Elsie and Another
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 26 November 1975
    ...AC 124 (refd) L (infant), Re [1962] 1 WLR 886; [1962] 3 All ER 1 (folld) Milford v Milford (1866) LR 1 P&D 295 (refd) Ng v Lim [1968-1970] SLR (R) 338; [1965-1968] SLR 339 (folld) Preston-Jones v Preston-Jones [1951] AC 391 (refd) Ross v Ross [1930] AC 1 (refd) Russell v Russell [1897] AC 3......
  • Wong Siew Boey v Lee Boon Fatt
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 17 February 1994

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