Sacked consultant sues 'puppet master' boss

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 January, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 January, 2002, 12:00am

A sacked university teaching consultant launched a libel lawsuit against his former boss yesterday, accusing her of orchestrating a campaign against him like a 'puppet master'.

Hugh Tyrwhitt-Drake, formerly employed by the University of Hong Kong, claims Professor Amy Tsui Bik-mei, head of the department of curriculum studies, distributed and published defamatory remarks in two letters damaging his character, reputation and academic career.

The letters, dated June 21, 1999, and June 25, 1999, were allegedly written by Professor Tsui and sent to Professor Cheng Kai-ming, the university's pro-vice-chancellor (staffing), and copied to Dr Frederic Leung, dean of the education faculty, and the head of the staffing section, Violet Tang.

Madam Justice Carlye Chu Fun-ling was told the letters said his teaching was substandard, that he never followed instructions and that his relations with colleagues were marked by arrogance and aggression.

Mr Tyrwhitt-Drake, who joined the Teachers of English Education Centre in the department of curriculum studies in 1996, was sacked in June 1999.

'By reason of the publication of the defamatory words, the plaintiff has been injured in his character . . . and reputation, and has been brought into public scandal, odium and contempt,' a statement of claims filed with the Court of First Instance said.

Mr Tyrwhitt-Drake said Professor Tsui had also enlisted his colleagues in a campaign against him by threatening their careers.

'The defendant has been conducting operations from behind the scenes like a puppet master, pulling the strings in one hand, while holding a knife in the other,' he said.

Mr Tyrwhitt-Drake is seeking unspecified damages from Professor Tsui and an injunction to prevent further publication of the remarks.

The case continues today.