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Exam cheat gets to withdraw application to be called to the Bar

Exam cheat gets to withdraw application to be called to the Bar

Source: Straits Times
Article Date: 12 May 2022
Author: Selina Lum

One of the 11 aspiring lawyers who cheated in the 2020 Bar examination was yesterday allowed to withdraw his application to be called to the Bar after he agreed to two conditions set by the court.

One of the 11 aspiring lawyers who cheated in the 2020 Bar examination was yesterday allowed to withdraw his application to be called to the Bar after he agreed to two conditions set by the court.

However, Mr Leon Tay Quan Li failed in his bid to get a court order for his name to be redacted and for his case file to be sealed.

In a hearing before Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, Mr Tay gave an undertaking not to bring a fresh application for admission to the Bar in Singapore or elsewhere for at least five years.

The 26-year-old also gave his word that, if and when he brings a fresh application, he would have to satisfy any requirements by the Attorney-General, Law Society, Singapore Institute of Legal Education or the court as to his fitness for admission.

The Chief Justice said Mr Tay had shown a grave deficit of integrity in cheating during the exam and his subsequent conduct.

Mr Tay had given a false account of what had transpired; he had also not given full disclosure of what happened in his application to be admitted to the Bar.

"I am inviting him to see this as the first step in his journey towards rehabilitation by publicly taking responsibility for his wrong," said the Chief Justice.

During the hearing, the Chief Justice noted that five years was the maximum period of suspension for lawyers. He will issue detailed written reasons at a later date.

Mr Tay was one of 11 candidates caught cheating in the Bar exam in 2020, which was held online. All had to retake the exam in the following year. He was found to have colluded with another candidate, Ms Lynn Kuek Yi Ting.

Ms Kuek was one of the six cheats whose applications for admission to the Bar were heard last month. The Attorney-General had opposed their admissions.

Ms Kuek's application was adjourned for a year, while the five had theirs delayed for six months.

It was further revealed that the Attorney-General was considering another five applications.

On April 22, Mr Tay, who was one of the five, applied to the court to withdraw his admission application. He later sought the redaction and sealing orders.

Yesterday, his bid for the redaction and sealing orders was heard and dismissed in private. The withdrawal bid was heard in open court.

Mr Jeyendran Jeyapal, acting for the Attorney-General, objected to the withdrawal application, arguing that it was another attempt by Mr Tay to evade responsibility and shield his identity from the public.

The Law Society, represented by Mr Kenneth Lim, had no objection.

Lawyer Luo Ling Ling, acting for Mr Tay, said that Mr Tay recognised that he was not good enough to be admitted to the Bar and wanted to work on moulding his character.

She said Mr Tay was also traumatised by the rising public hostility.

In a letter released to the media, Mr Tay apologised for his "inexcusable misconduct".

He apologised to the legal fraternity and fellow candidates as well as to all members of the public, saying he was deeply remorseful for his mistakes.

Mr Tay said: "I know that I am presently not fit and proper to be admitted to the Bar... I will reflect on my actions and perform more volunteering and pro bono work to give back to the community as a whole in the near future."

Source: Straits Times © SPH Media Limited. Permission required for reproduction.

 

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