Former Singapore professor wins appeal in sex-for-grades case: Tey Tsun Hang, a former law professor at the National University of Singapore, won his appeal against a previous sex-for-grades conviction on Friday morning at the Singapore High Court, according to reports.
Tey was acquitted on all six counts, overturning last May’s conviction and sentencing of five months’ jail on charges of corruptly obtaining sex and gifts from student Darinne Ko as an inducement for showing favour in assessing her academic performance.
Following the conviction last year, he chose to serve out the jail sentence first pending the outcome of his appeal. After completing the jail term he left the country.
In spite of the acquittal, however, Justice Woo Bih Li strongly criticised the former professor’s character in court, calling him “a man without honour”, adding that his actions were morally reprehensible, though not legally corrupt, according to reports.
The judge read out an abridged version of the 113-page judgement to a packed courtroom, saying Tey had exploited the female student at the centre of the scandal, with whom he had sex, impregnated, and then made her have an abortion which she had to pay for on her own.
Tey had also accepted several gifts from her, which were an iPod worth $160, a Mont Blanc pen worth $740, and two tailored shirts worth $236.20. He also made her pay for a formal dinner that he had with some of his former students which totalled $1,278.60.
Justice Woo pointed out, however, that Ko’s affectionately-written messages to her professor in three cards and a note, as well as a series of emails, proved that she was in love with him at the time.
He ruled that these showed the trial judge, Chief District Judge Tan Siong Thye, had incorrectly concluded that the reason for Ko’s actions was to obtain better grades in return.
Justice Woo also said Tan was wrong to equate morally reprehensible conduct with what is legally wrong.
The judge said that he was clearing Tey of his corruption charges only, while criticising his conduct, his exploitation of his student, and also the way he conducted his defence during his trial, saying they “also reflected poorly on him”.
“This court does not condone the way he abused his position and exploited Ms Ko,” Justice Woo said.
“He took advantage of her to satisfy his greed and his lust. He did not even take responsibility when she told him that she was pregnant. Instead, he lied to her that he had no money when he told her to get rid of the baby. He is a man without honour.”
Tey himself was not present in the courtroom to receive the ruling. In responding to the acquittal, Tey’s defence attorney Peter Low said he was glad to hear the appeal court’s ruling.