Lawyer who opposed trainee's bid to be called to the Bar under investigation for giving false evidence

Lawyer Tan Jeh Yaw had made the unusual move of objecting to a trainee's application for admission to the Bar. ST PHOTO: JASMINE CHOONG

SINGAPORE - A lawyer, who made the rare move of opposing a trainee's bid to be called to the Bar, is being investigated by the police for giving false evidence, the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) said on Thursday (May 6).

The investigations include a possible offence by Mr Tan Jeh Yaw for falsely declaring to the Singapore Institute of Legal Education that he was qualified to supervise trainees during their practice training stint.

The development came after High Court Justice Choo Han Teck, in written grounds of decision in April, flagged several issues that arose from an application by Mr Kuoh Hao Teng to be admitted to the Bar.

Mr Tan, who had supervised Mr Kuoh's six-month training stint at his firm, had made the unusual move of objecting to the trainee's application for admission to the Bar.

He claimed that Mr Kuoh played computer games and watched movies during office hours and did not complete the work assigned to him - allegations the trainee denied.

Mr Tan's objections continued when Mr Kuoh submitted a fresh application after completing a second training stint under the supervision of another lawyer, who gave him a glowing report.

But, in a twist, Mr Kuoh's counsel, Ms Luo Ling Ling, discovered that Mr Tan did not have the necessary qualifications to take on trainees.

In his judgment, Justice Choo questioned whether the reasons given by Mr Tan for his objections were true and whether other trainees of Mr Tan had been admitted to the Bar.

AGC chief executive Hui Choon Kuen said on Thursday that the AGC has assessed the issues raised by Justice Choo.

"The matter has been referred by AGC to the police for investigation into possible offences committed by Mr Tan under Section 193 of the Penal Code for giving false evidence, including declaring himself as a qualified supervising solicitor to the Singapore Institute of Legal Education," he said.

"As the matter is now under investigation, we are unable to comment further."

A police spokesman confirmed that a report was lodged and that investigations are ongoing.

Under the law, a person convicted of giving false evidence in a judicial proceeding faces up to seven years' jail and a fine, while someone who gives false evidence in other cases faces up to three years' jail and a fine.

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