Ex-law prof appeals against conviction, jail term

Tey Tsun Hang (above) continues to insist that he loved former student Darinne Ko, and that a stiff fine would have been enough.

SINGAPORE - Former law professor Tey Tsun Hang had his lawyers file appeals against his conviction and five- month jail sentence on Thursday.

Tey, who is now in prison after being found guilty of six counts of corruptly obtaining gifts and sex from former student Darinne Ko, continues to insist that he loved her, and that a stiff fine would have been enough.

The appeals are expected to be heard three months from now, which may coincide with Tey's release. Before starting his jail term last month, he predicted that he would be out by "early October" after remission.

Tey's lawyer Peter Low, who visited him last week, said his client was "in good spirits and counting down towards his freedom".

Tey's actions were a marked contrast from those taken by former civil defence chief Peter Lim Sin Pang in another high- profile corruption case.

Earlier this month, Lim, 53, dropped his appeal against his six-month jail sentence.

He was found guilty of corruptly obtaining sex from Ms Angie Pang Chor Mui, 49, in exchange for furthering the business interests of her then employer Nimrod Engineering. He also pleaded guilty to seven more charges over trysts with two other women in their 40s.

After Tey's conviction in May, the former National University of Singapore (NUS) professor continued to insist on his innocence. Just before going to jail, he claimed he was "extremely disappointed" by the judgment.

The Straits Times understands that one of the arguments raised in the 42-year-old Malaysian's appeal against his conviction involves his six statements to anti-graft officers.

During the trial, Tey insisted that the statements had been made under duress and should not be admitted. But Chief District Judge Tan Siong Thye decided otherwise.

Another argument Tey's lawyers are raising is how the judge saw his relationship with Ms Ko.

The judge ruled that Tey "chose to be corrupt" and exploited her vulnerability. He also said that Tey had seen Ms Ko as an afterthought - sending her terse e-mail messages and telling her to abort his child at her expense.

However, Tey had insisted in his defence that he was in a "mutually loving romantic relationship" with Ms Ko, and that the gifts and sex were part of that.

In his appeal against sentencing, Tey is expected to argue that five months' jail was too harsh. During mitigation, the defence had said "a stiff fine" would suffice, adding that NUS did not suffer any "real loss or detriment".

But the judge said a fine would "trivialise the severity of a corruption case in a public body", and that NUS' reputation had been tarnished by Tey's conviction.