Lawyer suspended in 2018 for focusing on victim's breast size fined by court for obstructing police

Lawyer suspended in 2018 for focusing on victim's breast size fined by court for obstructing police

Edmund Wong Sin Yee
Edmund Wong Sin Yee. (Photo: Facebook/Edmund Wong)

SINGAPORE: A lawyer who was suspended in 2018 for "disgraceful" conduct over a "demeaning" line of questioning towards a molestation victim was fined S$2,000 by a court on Wednesday (May 5) for obstructing the police.

Wong Sin Yee, otherwise known as Edmund Wong, pleaded guilty to one count of obstructing a public servant in the discharge of his functions. He was given a discharge amounting to an acquittal for a second charge of perverting the course of justice in filing a defence case and had been administered a stern warning for this.

Wong, 62, was a practising advocate and solicitor and the director of law firm S Y Wong Law Chambers at the time of the offence in 2017.

The court heard that a deputy superintendent of the Singapore Police Force led a group of police officers in an operation at the back lane between Lorong 14 and Lorong 16 Geylang on the night of Jan 13, 2017.

Police detained about 10 people suspected of being secret society members and were conducting checks on them when Wong arrived at the location and loitered nearby.

The deputy superintendent approached Wong and asked if he was a police officer at about 10.10pm. Wong shouted at him in an angry tone, saying he was "bigger" than a police officer.

When the officer asked him what he meant, Wong shouted that he "is an officer from the Supreme Court" and therefore the police officer had to call him "sir". His shouting drew the attention of some suspects as well as the public.

When the police verified Wong's identity and asked him to leave as his behaviour was hindering their operation, Wong refused to and was arrested.

The court heard that Wong has previous convictions, including disobeying an order from a public servant in 1994 and using threatening, abusive or insulting words of behaviour in 2001.

The prosecutor said Wong's referring to his status as a lawyer "sullies the good name of the legal profession" and the fine must be sufficiently high to reflect this.

Wong's lawyer said his client apologises for the wrong he has done but said the police officer was shouting at him, prompting an "impulsive reaction" to shout back.

In 2018, Wong made headlines after the highest disciplinary body for lawyers suspended him for the maximum five years for professional misconduct.

He had stared at the breasts of a victim of molestation during cross-examination and repeatedly asked if she thought she was attractive.

After that, he commanded her to stand up and scrutinised her chest. His client was then accused of brushing his forearm against her breast on the train.

Wong later said he was trying to mount a case claiming that the victim was unattractive and his client would not have been motivated to outrage her modesty. Any contact that took place was accidental.

His client was found guilty and jailed for five months.

Source: CNA/ll(ta)