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Court Of 3 Judges send Lim Tean’s case back to disciplinary tribunal for retrial

Court Of 3 Judges throw case involving Lim Tean back to Disciplinary Tribunal, ordering a retrial. Chief Justice flagged the tribunal’s decision relied solely on documents, lacking oral evidence from Lim or his client, creating factual gaps.



SINGAPORE: The Court of Three Judges has decided to set aside a disciplinary tribunal’s findings against Lim Tean, a Singaporean lawyer and leader of the People’s Voice (PV) party.

The charges relate to two instances of grossly improper conduct involving a S$30,000 cheque, which he encashed despite being informed of his discharge from representing the client.

On Monday (1 April), the Court of Three Judges, comprising Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, Justice of Appeal Tay Yong Kwang, and Senior Judge Andrew Phang, annulled the Disciplinary Tribunal’s verdict against Lim Tean and mandated a new hearing.

In August 2023, a disciplinary tribunal, appointed by the Chief Justice in 2021, found Mr Lim guilty of grossly improper conduct concerning the aforementioned matter.

The tribunal deemed the case grave enough to warrant referral to the court, the apex disciplinary authority for the legal profession, empowered to suspend or disbar lawyers.

However, Mr Lim has now opted to provide testimony in his defence before the tribunal, contrary to his earlier decision, guided by legal counsel, due to concerns over a separate criminal case he is entangled in.

Chief Justice highlighted the unusual circumstance of the case

As Mr Lim appeared before the court on Monday, the Chief Justice highlighted the unusual circumstance of the case: the tribunal had rendered its decision solely based on documents, as neither Lim nor his former client provided oral evidence, resulting in gaps in the factual account.

Mr Chenthil Kumarasingam, representing the Law Society of Singapore, clarified that after filing a complaint against Lim, the client, Mr Suresh Kumar A. Jesupal, opted out of further involvement in the proceedings.

Mr Lim disclosed that a few days before the disciplinary hearing, he was charged with criminal breach of trust (CBT) concerning the same sum of money.

He stated that upon the advice of his legal counsel, he refrained from presenting evidence during the disciplinary hearing, particularly due to Mr Suresh Kumar’s absence.

Mr Lim expressed concerns that such evidence might be used against him in the criminal case.

However, he has since decided to testify before the tribunal due to “changed circumstances.”

Highlighting the severity of the CBT charge among the seven criminal charges he faces, Mr Lim noted that the prosecution opted to proceed with less serious charges related to practising law without a valid certificate, leaving uncertainty about the fate of the CBT charge.

After considering Mr Lim’s explanation, the Chief Justice deemed it reasonable for him to follow legal advice, especially given the absence of evidence from the complainant.

Case sent back to tribunal

Consequently, the court set aside the tribunal’s findings and sent the case back to the tribunal for a fresh hearing, allowing Lim to present testimony and call witnesses as needed.

Mr Lim’s testimony will address crucial questions regarding his awareness of the termination of his retainer and any agreements concerning the $30,000 payment with Mr Suresh Kumar.

Initially appointed on 23 Oct 2018, to represent Mr Suresh Kumar in a traffic accident claim, Lim’s involvement concluded when, on November 13 of the following year, Mr Suresh Kumar engaged a new law firm, Joseph Chen & Co, to take over.

The same day, Joseph Chen & Co notified Mr Lim’s firm, Carson Law Chambers, of the change and filed a notice of substitution of solicitor.

Shortly after, Willy Tay Chambers, representing the defendants in the suit, issued a S$30,000 interim payment cheque to Carson Law Chambers.

The tribunal found Mr Lim guilty of grossly improper conduct for cashing the cheque despite being aware of his discharge and for violating solicitors’ account regulations by depositing the funds into his firm’s general account instead of the client account.

Senior Judge Andrew Ang and senior lawyer Philip Fong constituted the two-member tribunal.

Lim argued before the tribunal that Mr Suresh Kumar continued visiting Carson Law Chambers’ office for meetings even after the notice of substitution was filed.

He also contended the existence of an agreement wherein Mr Suresh Kumar would allocate proceeds from the judgment sum to Lim and his creditor before receiving any money.

Commented on the recent development in his case on Tuesday via Facebook, Mr Lim also highlighted that the Law Society was forced to withdraw the 3rd charge against him of misappropriating S$30,000 because the Complainant Suresh Kumar did not turn up to give evidence.

Mr Lim raised concerns about the timing and handling of the criminal charges against him by the Public Prosecutor.

He questioned why the most serious charge of misappropriation of funds was not pursued first, especially considering its severity compared to other charges he faces.

“The prosecutor should always proceed with the most serious charge first. But they appear to have put that on hold and proceeded against me on the less serious charge of not having a valid practising certificate, which I am contesting vigorously. ”

“My legal team and I protested to the AGC that what they were doing was not proper. But they ignored our protests,” Mr Lim added.

Slapped with a total of seven charges

Lim was called as a Barrister-at-Law to the Bar of England and Wales in 1989 and to the Singapore Bar in 1991 as an advocate and solicitor of the Supreme Court.

He faced legal charges on 12 May 2022, including criminal breach of trust, stalking a former employee, and practising law without a valid certificate.

He was accused of purportedly misappropriating S$30,000 entrusted to him between 14 November 2019 and 4 December 2019.

This sum was reportedly part of a settlement awarded to Lim’s former client in a civil suit involving motor injury.

During 2020, investigations were conducted regarding the aforementioned accusations of misconduct and illegal stalking.

In October 2020, Lim was arrested as he allegedly failed to comply with a police notice requesting his attendance for a compulsory interview related to the ongoing investigations into his purported offences, as stated by the SPF.

Attempting to halt the police probe, Lim took his case to the High Court. However, his application was dismissed, and he was directed to cover legal costs.

The stalking accusation arose from allegations of harassing a former employee at Lim’s law firm in 2020.

Law enforcement authorities mentioned that the employee provided them with text messages exchanged between herself and Lim.

During the period between April and May 2020, Lim is accused of having sent numerous flirtatious text messages to the employee repeatedly, which reportedly caused distress to her, as outlined in the charge sheets.

Additionally, Lim also faces three charges of being an unauthorised person who acted as an advocate or solicitor.

He is suspected of engaging in the commencement, continuation, or defence of court proceedings for clients on 32 occasions spanning from April 1, 2021, to June 4, 2021.

In September 2022, Lim was handed another two new criminal charges. He was accused of misappropriating S$5,500 paid by AXA Insurance as settlement monies to a person named Christianne Rameshwaran.

He was also charged with refusing to answer questions posed to him by an officer from the police’s Commercial Affairs Department on 10 June 2022.

On 22 Aug 2023, the court found Lim guilty of grossly improper conduct concerning the mishandling of the S$30,000 belonging to his former client.

If convicted of unlawful stalking, Lim could face imprisonment for up to 12 months, a fine of up to S$5,000, or both.

Those found guilty of criminal breach of trust as an attorney may face life imprisonment, a maximum of 20 years, or a fine.

Moreover, practising law without a valid certificate could result in a prison term of up to six months, a fine of up to S$25,000, or both.

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Charges can only be brought about by the Police.
Who informed the police?

Charges can also be based on technicalities.
But it cannot be held up without supporting evidence

Where is the smoking gun..??
Where is the body?
Where is the bullet?
Where is the witness?

PAP and AGC very good in concocting charges.
But have zero evidence.
Not credible.

Ping Pong game start liao.

Piang here piang there.
Looks like Can Go India.
Got money trail. CAD doing what???
Still do not know???
Where is Lord Shanmugam!!!!

When the heavy hand of politics demands, one can come to conclusion that there’s more than meets the eye.

This is another EXAMPLE why the PAP Administration HAS all BUT ABANDONED anything on Productivity across all work spectrums in Sheepland.

Kangaroos jumping around..up and down…Nice…