News

He's seeking his old job

A former law professor, who was jailed and later acquitted of corruption charges, has filed for a review in the High Court in a bid to return to his previous job

He was a district judge, a public prosecutor and a lawyer in private practice.

But Mr Tey Tsun Hang wants back his old law professor job at the National University of Singapore (NUS).

He was fired on May 28 last year - the same day he was convicted of corruptly receiving gifts in exchange for better grades.

On Oct 5, he was granted early release from his five-month jail term for good behaviour. The conviction was declared wrong by the Supreme Court on Feb 28 this year after Mr Tey appealed.

Mr Tey, 42, represented by lawyer M. Ravi, wants the court to quash the NUS decision, claiming that his right to a fair hearing was breached and this was against natural justice.

A pre-trial conference in the High Court is due later this month.

NUS said in a statement yesterday that it was leaving the matter to its legal team now that the application is to be heard in the High Court.

WHAT IS A JUDICIAL REVIEW?

A judicial review is basically an application asking the court to look into an administrative decision, said Mr Sashi Nathan, a partner at Khattar Wong.

He said: "In this case, now that Mr Tey has been acquitted, the issue is if it was all right to dismiss him before any final judgments."

He added: "This is his attempt at trying to get his job back."

WHY NOT GO TO NUS DIRECTLY?

In the High Court application filed on June 3, Mr Tey said: "NUS cannot dismiss a tenured law professor based on a conviction declared by the High Court to be misconceived and mistaken, a conviction based on evidence misconstrued and its significance misunderstood."

Speaking in general, Mr Nathan said people might file for a review if they feel there was bias in the decision made.

He added: "If the court feels that there has been bias in the decisions made, they will overturn it if they feel that it is wrong."

THERE HAS BEEN A NUMBER OF JUDICIAL REVIEWS FILED RECENTLY. HOW DOES THE SYSTEM GUARD AGAINST FRIVOLOUS APPLICATIONS?

For trivial cases, or those without merit, the cases will be dropped, said Mr. Rajan Supramaniam, a partner at Hilborne Law.

"There is a mandatory leave stage, or the obtaining of leave from court - so as to identify and filter the unwanted cases without merit," he said.

He said if it goes through that stage, then it would likely not be frivolous or totally without any merit.


He took advantage of her to satisfy his greed and his lust. He did not even take responsibility when she told him that she was pregnant. Instead, he lied to her that he had no money when he told her to get rid of the baby.

- Justice Woo Bih Li on Mr Tey Tsun Hang

ABOUT THE CASE

She was his student and, as it turned out, in love with him.

She showered him with gifts and paid for a meal he had with other students.

But Mr Tey Tsun Hang, 42, did not feel the same way about her. After he made her pregnant, Mr Tey told her to pay for the abortion, saying he didn't have the money.

He was then earning about $20,000 a month at the National University of Singapore.

Mr Tey was convicted on six counts of corruptly obtaining gifts and sex from the student. He was sentenced to five months' jail and ordered to pay a penalty of $514.80 for corruptly obtaining gifts and sex from her. He went to jail, but was later acquitted on appeal and the gifts were returned to him.