Ex-law prof in Malaysia as hearing proceeds

SINGAPORE - From more than 200 instances of threats, inducements, promises and oppression alleged by disgraced law professor Tey Tsun Hang that he had endured, fewer than 10 were accepted by High Court Justice Woo Bih Li at Mr Tey's appeal yesterday.

The hearing proceeded without the man at the centre of it, who was apparently in Malaysia with his parents.

Mr Tey, 42, got out of jail on Oct 5, after serving a five-month sentence he received in June for corruptly obtaining gifts and sex from former student Darinne Ko.

During his trial, he had argued against the admissibility of six statements he had given to officers from the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau, claiming they had been made under duress.

On Wednesday, this argument was revisited by Mr Tey's lawyer, Mr Peter Low. Justice Woo asked for the specifics involving each of the 219 instances claimed by Mr Tey.

In the end, only the alleged threats to arrest his wife and detain him and instances of being "badgered" to confess to accepting items from his students were accepted by Justice Woo. These amounted to fewer than 10, and there were no valid examples of inducements or promises.

Mr Low also tried to show that his client was not corrupt and had not exploited Ms Ko despite the ruling by Chief District Judge Tan Siong Thye.

He pointed to cards from Ms Ko given to Mr Tey between May and August 2010. He said these showed the relationship was "not one-sided".

But Justice Woo was not convinced. "The cards show she is very much in love with him. Whether he was really in love with her... I don't know yet," he said.

Mr Low then brought up e-mails sent by Mr Tey to Ms Ko after she went for an exchange programme in the US in which he wrote that he "missed" and "longed for" her, saying these indicated the "reciprocity of affection". He added: "This is not a corruption case. There is a reasonable doubt if the gifts were given or received in expectation of showing favour."

But it was not the proceedings that caused a buzz so much as Mr Tey's glaring absence.

"I had no indication that he would not attend," said Mr Low, who said he was told by his client just five minutes before the hearing that he would not be present.

Justice Woo decided the appeal would proceed. Noting Mr Tey had requested these dates, he said: "One would have thought he is the one most interested in this appeal."

The hearing continued on Thursday.


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