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Complaint lodged against lawyer for ‘indecent’, ‘scandalous’ line of questioning

SINGAPORE — The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) has lodged a disciplinary complaint with the Law Society of Singapore against a lawyer whose line of questioning was described by a district judge as “indecent” and “scandalous”.

State Courts building. TODAY file photo

State Courts building. TODAY file photo

Singapore

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SINGAPORE — The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) has lodged a disciplinary complaint with the Law Society of Singapore against a lawyer whose line of questioning was described by a district judge as “indecent” and “scandalous”.

In a press statement on Monday (Aug 8), the AGC said the complaint against Mr Edmund Wong of SY Wong Law Chambers, had stemmed from his line of questioning in a case of outrage of modesty brought against his client, Mr Xu Jiadong.

In the courtroom, Mr Wong had, among other things, sought to argue that women sporting low-cut tops with their breasts protruding made them more likely targets of molest.

After asking the victim to stand to assess her “attractiveness”, the victim had protested against the offensiveness of his conduct, to which Mr Wong replied that he had planned to ask an “even more insulting question later on”.

He suggested to the court that he would have to know the victim’s “breast size” and whether she had been wearing attire that was of a “very low cut with a (sic) very voluptuous breast protruding” on the day of the incident.

The deputy public prosecutor had objected to Mr Wong’s line of questioning, and District Judge Shawn Ho had put an end to it.

The judge, in his written grounds of decision, had called Mr Wong’s line of questioning “indecent”, “scandalous”, “intended to insult or annoy the victim”, and “lamentable”.

The AGC, in filing its complaint, said Mr Wong’s conduct fell “far short of the standards of professional conduct to be expected from an advocate and solicitor, and represents a flagrant abuse of the function of the advocate and solicitor”.

More broadly, the implications of such lines of questioning “bear broader repercussions on public confidence in the criminal legal process”, it said. It pointed out that District Judge Ho had noted that “the improper humiliation of victims of sexual offences during cross-examination could discourage future victims from coming forward”.

This is the second time in the past year that the AGC has referred Mr Wong to the Law Society of Singapore for possible disciplinary action.

Last November, it filed a complaint about remarks made by Mr Wong, which included the use of expletives, in a separate criminal trial. The society decided to impose a penalty on Mr Wong for the earlier complaint, the AGC said.

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