SINGAPORE: The National University of Singapore (NUS) law professor defending himself in the sex—for—grades corruption trial has contested the admissibility of his six statements to the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB).
Tey Tsun Hang, 41, said they cannot be counted as evidence as they were made under duress.
A hearing to determine the admissibility of the statements, also known as trial within a trial, took place on Wednesday.
Tey faces six allegations that he obtained gifts and sex from his ex—student and then girlfriend, Ms Darinne Ko Wen Hui between May and July in 2010, in return for lifting her grades.
Prosecution’s seventh witness, CPIB investigator Bay Chun How told the court that during the interview on April 2 last year, Tey Tsun Hang said he had "expected this day to come".
During the trial within a trial hearing, he said Tey had started out being "frank", "forthright" and "helpful", but turned silent when told of the allegations.
Mr Bay recalled Tey staring at his tie then looking up at him with "red and tearing" eyes.
In recounting the events of April 2, Mr Bay also told the court that Ms Ko revealed to them she had been pregnant.
He told the court he had returned to the bureau shortly before 10am that day after making a trip to Tey’s house.
Before interviewing Tey, Mr Bay had wanted to find out what progress had been made.
That was when he learnt that Ms Ko was already giving information and had confirmed her sexual relationship with Tey, as well as the gifts.
He added that she had told the CPIB about her pregnancy and abortion.
The court heard that Tey became unwell during questioning on April 2 and was sent to the hospital in an ambulance.
While he was on sick leave, Mr Bay said Tey offered to go back to CPIB to record his statement.
When asked how he reacted towards Tey, bearing in mind he had just got out of hospital, Mr Bay said: "He looked well and wanted to give the statement."
Asked if the recording of the statement was made under threat, inducement or promises, Mr Bay flatly denied it, saying it is because Tey is an ex—public prosecutor and former judge.
Mr Bay had recorded one of six statements contested by Tey. His colleague Wilson Khoo recorded two statements, while Deputy Director Teng Khee Fatt recorded the other three.
A trial within trial takes place when the three men take the stand to testify.
With such a hearing, both the prosecution and defence will question the three CPIB staff to see if the statements were made under duress.
If so, the defence can then argue that the statements are inadmissible in court.
Earlier in the day, Tey continued his cross—examination of CPIB officer Png Chen Chen.
She was the one who interrogated Ms Ko.
Tey charged that Ms Png extracted the confession from Ms Ko under inducement, promises and threats, but the CPIB officer disagreed.
The trial continues with Mr Bay on the stand for a second day.
Ms Png was the prosecution’s second witness.
A third prosecution witness, Mdm Lee Swee Khuen, also took the stand.
Mdm Lee is a senior associate director of the Human Resource Department of NUS.
She testified that NUS has a code of conduct, requiring staff to declare gifts as well as conflict of interests.
An issue raised by Tey on January 15 also surfaced during her testimony.
Tey had said he could not afford two forensic tests costing more than S$50,000 to verify handwriting and ink dating on his cheque book entries as he has been suspended since July last year.
On Wednesday, Mdm Lee told the court that Tey is still receiving his pay every month, even while on suspension.
MediaCorp understands that Tey is paid more than S$15,000 a month.
The fourth witness who testified was Ms Eileen Pang, senior associate director of financial services at NUS.
Other prosecution witnesses who testified in court were Mr Akira Goh of CYC Shanghai Shirt Company, and Mr De Costa Desmond Max, seller of the iPod Touch.
The trial continues with Mr Bay on the stand for a second day on Thursday.
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