AGC files complaint against lawyer

The Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) has filed a disciplinary complaint with the Law Society against a lawyer who was rapped by a judge last week for focusing on the breast size of a molestation victim.

In a statement, AGC said Mr Edmund Wong Sin Yee's conduct fell "far short of the standards of professional conduct to be expected from an advocate and solicitor". AGC called it a "flagrant abuse of the function of the advocate and solicitor".

Mr Wong, who is in his late 50s and runs his own firm, S.Y. Wong Law Chambers, had been defending Xu Jiadong, a 24-year-old student from China. Xu was found guilty of brushing his forearm against the breast of a 22-year-old woman on a train.

AGC noted that Mr Wong had asked the victim to stand up so as to assess her "attractiveness". When the victim protested against the offensive request, Mr Wong replied that he intended to ask an "even more insulting question later on".

He suggested to the court that he would have to know her "breast size" and whether she had been wearing low-cut attire with "a (sic) very voluptuous breast protruding out".

AGC said the implication of such lines of questioning bears broader repercussions on public confidence in the criminal legal process.

It said District Judge Shawn Ho had described Mr Wong's conduct as "indecent", "scandalous", apparently "intended to insult or annoy the victim", and "lamentable".

Mr Wong has a history of other offences. He was also recently ordered by a disciplinary tribunal to pay $3,000 for improper conduct in using expletives at another trial.

In a Facebook post responding to media reports on the lawyer last Saturday, Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam said he had asked officials to look into the current legal process and to consider changes in the way investigations and trials are conducted when women are the alleged victims.

When contacted by The Straits Times, Mr Wong said: "This (disciplinary tribunal hearing) will give me an opportunity to tell my side of the story. I will explain and look forward to a positive outcome."

•Additional reporting by K.C. Vijayan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 09, 2016, with the headline 'AGC files complaint against lawyer'. Print Edition | Subscribe