Suspended lawyer Edmund Wong fined for obstructing police officer from carrying out his duties

SINGAPORE – A lawyer who was suspended for the maximum of five years in 2018 over professional misconduct was back in a district court on Wednesday (May 5) after he committed an unrelated offence – hindering police work.

For obstructing a policeman from carrying out his duties in 2017, Wong Sin Yee, better known as Edmund Wong, was fined $2,000.

On Wednesday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Foo Shi Hao told the court that Deputy Superintendent Chu Weng Kong had led an operation with his colleagues at a back lane between Lorong 14 and Lorong 16 Geylang at around 9pm on Jan 13 that year.

The officers detained about 10 people suspected of being secret society members. Wong arrived at around 10pm and was seen loitering near the detainees.

DSP Chu approached him and asked if he was a police officer. In response, Wong yelled at DSP Chu and said he was “bigger” than a police officer.

DPP Foo added: “DSP Chu then asked the accused what he meant, and the accused shouted that he is an officer from the Supreme Court, and therefore DSP Chu had to address the accused as ‘sir’.

“The accused’s shouting attracted the attention of some of the suspects as well as various members of the public.”

Another policeman then approached Wong to ascertain his identity. Soon after, DSP Chu told Wong the police were in the midst of an operation and that he was hindering it.

Wong was arrested after he refused to leave when asked.

A year later, in 2018, Wong was suspended for five years for professional misconduct after he went on a “demeaning” line of questioning of a molestation victim during a trial in 2015. He also committed acts such as staring at the woman’s breasts.

The Court of Three Judges, the highest disciplinary body for the legal profession, had harsh words for Wong’s “disgraceful” conduct and his “irrelevant and wholly impermissible” line of questioning, which Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon noted was intended to humiliate the victim.

Separately, Wong had earlier been accused of another offence – intentionally perverting the course of justice by filing a false statement in relation to the defence of an alleged drug offender.

Wong had been accused of committing the offence some time on or before Dec 11, 2015, and the statement purportedly said the female accused’s “urine is found to contain methamphetamine due to contamination from medical (sic) she took”.

The statement was alleged to have originated from Wong, not the woman, and he had no basis to believe that it was true.

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On Wednesday, the court heard that Wong had been given a stern warning over this charge, which was then withdrawn.

Senior District Judge Bala Reddy granted Wong a discharge amounting to an acquittal over the charge. This means that Wong cannot be charged again with the same offence.

For obstructing a police officer from carrying out his duties, he could have been jailed for up to three months and fined up to $2,500.

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