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Ex-principal appeals against embezzlement conviction

His lawyer criticises conduct of trial judge

Published on Jan 10, 2014 8:31 AM
Anthony Tan Kim Hock, who is out on bail, was found guilty last year of embezzling $67,700. -- ST FILE PHOTO

The lawyer for former Maris Stella High principal Anthony Tan Kim Hock, sentenced to five months' jail for embezzlement, yesterday criticised the conduct of the trial judge which gave the impression that he was not impartial.

Mr Peter Low, arguing at Tan's appeal in the High Court, contended that District Judge Soh Tze Bian excessively intervened while witnesses - including Tan - were on the stand, carried out his own line of questioning and gave the impression he had already made up his mind that the former principal was guilty.

Among other things, Mr Low pointed to how, in 20 pages of transcripts, Judge Soh was recorded asking Tan 50 questions.

But Deputy Public Prosecutor Kwek Chin Yong countered that there was nothing improper as judges were entitled to question the logic of an accused's case and establish relevance.

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