Singapore court overturns professor's conviction in sex-for-grades scandal

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 February, 2014, 11:41pm
UPDATED : Friday, 28 February, 2014, 11:41pm


Singapore's High Court has overturned the conviction of a law professor jailed for obtaining sexual favours and gifts from a female student in exchange for better grades, his lawyer said yesterday.

Former National University of Singapore law professor Tey Tsun Hang, 42, served a five-month sentence last year after he was found guilty by a district court of six charges of corruption over his relationship with his then-student Darinne Ko in 2010.

The district court ruled that he had "exploited" the female student by obtaining sexual favours from her and also receiving gifts that included tailored shirts and a limited-edition pen.

Tey's lawyer, Peter Low, said that High Court Justice Woo Bih Li "allowed an appeal and overturned the conviction", five months after he completed his prison sentence.

"The crux of it is that the court found that it takes two hands to clap even though he exploited her and that she was in love with him," Low said. "I am glad that Professor Tey has been vindicated by a court of law and acquitted of all six corruption charges."

The university, which last year terminated Tey's employment following his conviction, said yesterday he could "petition for reinstatement".

"[Tey] would remain liable for any acts contrary to the NUS Staff Code of Conduct," the school said in a statement.

"In the event that he does seek to return to NUS, the university would first appoint its own Committee of Inquiry to determine whether Mr Tey is guilty of any misconduct and, if so, what sanctions are warranted," it said.

In handing down the sentence last year, judge Tan Siong Thye said Tey "abused his position and power" while in the relationship with Ko and chastised him for his "ulterior motives and corrupt intention".

The court had heard during the trial that Ko got pregnant during their affair and paid for her own abortion.

It was the second high-profile corruption case to be overturned in Singapore in the past year.

Ng Boon Gay, a former head of Singapore's narcotics police, was cleared of corruption in February last year after a court rejected charges he had demanded oral sex from a female contractor to help her win government deals.