Businessman cleared of copyright infringement 18 months after dying

A pest control firm director succeeded in having his conviction for copyright offences overturned - some 18 months after his death from a heart attack.

On Friday, Justice Choo Han Teck overturned the convictions of Mr Michael Chew Choon Leng, his firm Alterm Consortech and an employee of distributing specifications and drawings of a system to prevent termite intrusion into buildings, without the consent of the copyright owner. Giving all three "benefit of the doubt", the judge agreed with Mr Chew's widow's lawyer, Vignesh Vaerhn, that the offence had not been adequately proved, among others. He ordered fines of $21,000, $32,000 and $8,000, already fully paid up, to be returned.

Mr Chew died last year, two weeks after the punishment had been handed down. All three accused had been found guilty of the offences in Aug 2011 after a six-month trial. Despite the 48-year-old's death, his widow persisted with an appeal, saying it was of utmost importance to have his name "cleared" so as not to have the "shadow of criminal convictions" cloud the firm's activities.