American researcher Shane Todd's supervisor at the Singapore Institute of Microelectronics (IME), Dr Patrick Lo, has denied that the institute tried to influence evidence given to the police.
During the sixth day of an inquiry into Dr Todd's death last June, Senior State Counsel Tai Wei Shyong read out portions of an audio recording of a meeting that took place in April this year between Dr Lo and several IME employees. During that meeting, Dr Lo had cautioned the employees to be "careful" in what they said to the police so they would not violate any non-disclosure agreements.
According to transcripts of the meeting, Dr Lo had said to the employees: "You must be very careful... that's why there's legal to look over your statement, so you don't get into trouble... You will have one more chance to look at (your statement) again."
Mr Tai said the meeting could amount to an attempt to "try and influence the views of the witnesses'... statements given before this court", but Dr Lo disagreed. He said he had repeatedly told the employees during the meeting that they had an obligation to tell the police the truth, but the institute also had to protect its clients' interests, including those of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei Technologies, which is at the centre of this inquiry.
The institute also sought permission from Huawei to disclose the details of their joint projects, including one which Dr Todd was alleged involved in. This permission was granted and the details emerged in court last week.
Dr Lo was also questioned by the family's counsel about supposed instructions for Dr Todd to hand-copy formulas from machine vendor Veeco when he was sent for training with the company in the United States. Dr Todd's colleague Wang Weizhu had testified last week that the IME bought a machine from Veeco and received only one formula or "recipe" from it to develop semiconductor films. Dr Todd's family, however, alleged that he had been left in a room to hand-copy several other formulas.
Dr Lo said the instruction to hand-copy formulas did not come from him, and that he did not know who gave Dr Todd the instructions. He added that even if these hand-copied instructions existed, they would be "useless" to him, as they may be inaccurate.