SINGAPORE: Lawyer and politician Lim Tean was charged on Thursday (May 12) with criminal breach of trust, unlawful stalking and being an unauthorised person who acted as an advocate or solicitor.
The 57-year-old faces one charge of criminal breach of trust for allegedly misappropriating S$30,000 that was entrusted to him between Nov 14, 2019, and Dec 4, 2019, according to charge sheets.
The police said on Tuesday that the sum was awarded to Lim's former client as a settlement in a motor injury civil suit.
Lim also faces three charges of being an unauthorised person who acted as an advocate or solicitor. He is suspected of commencing, carrying on or defending court proceedings for clients on 32 occasions between Apr 1, 2021, and Jun 4, 2021.
These include attending a hearing in the defamation suit that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong brought against Mr Terry Xu, chief editor of the now-defunct The Online Citizen, on Apr 19 last year. Lim was Mr Xu's lawyer.
He is also suspected of preparing documents and instruments relating to court proceedings on 33 occasions between Apr 1, 2021, and Jun 9, 2021, and suing out a writ of summons when acting for Jiangsu New Huaming International Trading on Apr 1, 2021.
The police said on Tuesday that Lim was alleged to have acted as an advocate or solicitor without a valid practising certificate. Practising certificates are renewed on an annual basis for every practice year, which runs from Apr 1 to Mar 31 of the following year.
Lim was also charged with unlawful stalking. The charge relates to the alleged harassment of a former employee of Lim's law firm in 2020.
Police previously said that the employee referred them to text messages that she and Lim had exchanged.
Between April and May 2020, Lim is accused of repeatedly sending her flirtatious text messages, causing her distress, according to charge sheets.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Edwin Soh said the police required another two months for investigations into further potential offences that involve cheating and criminal breach of trust, with a possibility that Lim would be given more charges.
Lim will return to court in July for a pre-trial conference. A number of his supporters attended the hearing at the State Courts on Thursday morning.
After the hearing, Lim addressed them outside the building, thanking them for their support. Among the group were Ms Iris Koh, founder of the Healing the Divide Group, her husband Mr Raymond Ng and blogger Mr Leong Sze Hian.
Lim, a lawyer with Carson Law Chambers, was arrested for alleged criminal breach of trust in 2020 and also investigated for alleged unlawful stalking at the time.
His arrest came after he failed to attend a compulsory interview to assist with investigations, alleging that the investigations against him were "politically motivated", the police said in 2020.
The offence of criminal breach of trust is punishable with jail for life, or jail for up to 20 years and a fine.
Those convicted of unlawful stalking face up to a year in prison, a fine of up to S$5,000 or both.
Unauthorised people who act as an advocate or a solicitor face up to six months in prison, a fine of up to S$25,000 or both, for first-time offenders. For repeat offenders, the maximum punishment is doubled.