Sex-for-grades case: Court considers ex-don's bid for review of sacking

Sex-for-grades case: Court considers ex-don's bid for review of sacking
Former law professor Tey Tsun Hang arriving at the Subordinate Courts on 3 May 2013.

The High Court yesterday reserved judgment on whether former law professor Tey Tsun Hang should be allowed to go ahead with his bid to have the court review his sacking from the National University of Singapore (NUS) last year.

Mr Tey, 43, was fired on May 28 last year following his conviction on the same day for corruptly accepting gifts and sex from a student. He was acquitted in February on appeal to the High Court.

In June, he filed court papers seeking a judicial review of NUS' decision to fire him.

He wants the High Court to quash the university's decision so he can get his job back.

A judicial review is a procedure in which individuals and organisations ask the court to evaluate decisions of public bodies which affected them.

To sift out frivolous cases, the party challenging the decision must get permission from the court for the review to proceed.

At a closed-door hearing yesterday, his lawyer, Mr M. Ravi, argued before Justice Quentin Loh that NUS was a public body with a public function, and was thus subject to a judicial review.

But the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) opposed his application.

A spokesman for the AGC said Mr Tey's challenge did not concern public law, which is the area of the law governing relations between individuals and the state. Instead, it pertained to the employment contract between him and NUS.

"The judicial review process should be invoked only for public law matters and not for contractual disputes," said the spokesman.

NUS, represented by Senior Counsel Cavinder Bull, also argued that this was essentially a contractual matter between Mr Tey and the university.

NUS noted that Mr Tey was fired after a trial in which he admitted breaching its code of conduct, conflict of interest policy and policy on acceptance of gifts by staff.

Mr Tey, who returned to his home country of Malaysia after serving a five-month jail term, was not in court, but Mr Ravi said he is in Singapore.

Mr Tey is also seeking a judicial review against the decision of the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority to revoke his permanent residency status.

His application for permission to have the review is scheduled to be heard tomorrow by the same judge.

This article was first published on Nov 4, 2014.
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