Lawyer suspended for having affair with client

A married lawyer, who had an affair with a former air stewardess he was representing in divorce-related matters, was given a three-month suspension by a Court of Three Judges yesterday.

Mr Lee Terk Yang, 41, a lawyer for 13 years, admitted to having a tryst with the client at a hotel over two days in January 2014.

Her boyfriend complained to the Law Society, which then convened a disciplinary tribunal, before referring the case to the apex court.

Yesterday, Law Society counsel Ajaib Haridass asked for a six- to 12-month suspension for Mr Lee.

"(Mr Lee) breached his fiduciary duty owed to the client when he advanced his personal interests... (He) took advantage of his client by... having sexual intercourse with her on three occasions over two days in January 2014."

He added that in deciding on punishment for Mr Lee, there was a need to protect the reputation of the legal profession and public confidence in it.

Mr Eugene Thuraisingam, counsel for Mr Lee, argued for a fine, saying Mr Lee did not do anything that affected the client's legal interests during their affair, from late December 2013 to early February 2014.

Mr Lee's suspension starts on Oct 1. He also has to pay $10,000 in costs.

After the hearing, he told reporters: "I'm very sorry that I've hurt the people around me. I hope to be given the space to recover."

Amir Hussain

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 08, 2016, with the headline 'Lawyer suspended for having affair with client'. Print Edition | Subscribe