SINGAPORE: The law professor defending himself in a sex-for-grades corruption trial on Tuesday told the court that the relationship between him and his former student was “loving and affectionate”.
Tey Tsun Hang, 41, is defending himself against six counts of corruptly obtaining gratification in the form of gifts and sex from his then-student Darinne Ko Wen Hui, 23, between May and July 2010 in return for lifting her grades.
Tey on Tuesday disagreed with the prosecution's case that the gifts in question were corruptly received, and denied showing Ms Ko that he could influence her academic and professional career.
Lead prosecutor Andre Jumabhoy said Tey, in an attempt to impress upon Ms Ko the influence he had, called her up on 31 May 2010 and provided her with confidential information of her class ranking before the results were made public.
Tey however disagreed, saying that the information did not have an impact on Ms Ko. He said that he did not have a need to impress her then as they were already in a relationship.
He also pointed out that Ms Ko signed off an email dated 1 June 2010 with "Love, Darinne".
Going through the list of gifts Ms Ko showered on the accused, Mr Jumabhoy pointed out that Ms Ko was 21 years old at that time, while Tey had a good income.
Tey rebutted, saying that this was why he did not need the gifts.
He stressed that the gifts, including a Mont Blanc pen and tailored shirts, were Ms Ko's way of showing affection and love.
The prosecution also sought to show that the love and affection Tey had repeated during the trial was not mutual.
Pointing to their email correspondences, Mr Jumabhoy said Ms Ko was very affectionate using words like "dearest" or "hi baby".
However this, he said, was a stark contrast to Tey's emails which lacked such affectionate terms.
Mr Jumabhoy then cited an email sent by Tey to Ms Ko about the Frederic Chopin edition Mont Blanc pen she had given him as an example, pointing out that Tey had copied and pasted information of the composer in his reply to Ms Ko.
This prompted the prosecutor to remark that the email was not going to tug at heart strings.
Hearing this Tey laughed, saying that the information was included in the email for Ms Ko to understand the background of Frederic Chopin.
Tey added that while he was not affectionate in the email, he had been in phone conversations with Ms Ko.
Earlier in the day Tey corrected parts of his statements made at the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB), denying that he ever made certain points.
For example, Tey said in the statements that Ms Ko did not deserve to pass one of her papers marked by him.
However on Tuesday, Tey said he never made such a statement.
He pointed out that Ms Ko was on the Dean's List during her first year at the National University of Singapore’s Law Faculty. Tey said Ms Ko was not on the Dean's List in 2010 when they were dating.
He also reiterated that his relationship with Ms Ko was without corrupt intent.
The trial continues.