First, let me say that I don’t know either the judge, Woo Bih Li, or the successful appellant ex-law professor, Tey Tsun Hang, from a bar of soap.
But I must say Tey’s acquittal is to me as expected as Monday follows Sunday. The case against him, the salacious details notwithstanding, appeared to me as weak as tea brewed from 10X re-used tea bags
It was clear the so-called “victim” was head-over-heels about the prof. So what if she gave him her body, her heart and a Mont Blanc pen. Perhaps even an expensive dinner? Is that corruption, in the legal sense of the word?
Did she want good grades from him? Most certainly but not because he favoured her or that it’s an expression of his love. My take is she wanted him to love her for herself. She wanted good grades to win his approval, not just good grades per se or because she paid “bribes” for them.
In my view, women in such situations want to be intellectually worthy of their paramours, when the paramour obviously has better qualifications at the stage when their relationship blossomed.
So Darinne Ko would work hard for those grades. Whether she is capable of achieving good grades through her brain power and hard work is of course another story. Since most of us are differently endowed when it comes to passing formal exams.
So a major fail for the Chief District Judge Tan Siong Thye who in the words of Justice Woo “was wrong to equate morally reprehensible conduct with what is legally wrong”.
And a major fail for the state also for bringing such a case to trial. Did no one in CPIB see how weak the evidence was? And if the ex-prof was considered to have crossed the line in corruption, shouldn’t Ms Ko have been charged for providing inducements?
I wonder how much it cost tax payers to investigate and prosecute Mr Tey? Equal to how many meals for the down and out that Willing Hearts or Chope Food could provide?
Finally, I don’t think Justice Woo acquitted himself too well either by making gratuitous remarks about the ex-prof’s behaviour.
“Although the appellant may consider my decision has vindicated him, I vindicate him of the charges only. This court does not condone the way he abused his position,” he said. Or the way he had conducted his defence.
My problem with the judge’s remarks is this: whether or not what Mr Tey — or indeed what Ms Ko — did is condoned, isn’t for the court to decide. Courts are for deciding what’s legal and what’s illegal, like he said.
Matters of morality or the lack of it should be left to the courts of public opinion.
And frankly, while I found Mr Tey’s defence tiresome and theatrical, what would anyone who finds himself wrongly accused do?
Mr Tey at least served the sentence meted out to him, fair or foul
And lost his quarter of a million $ job