PAP to find out plan of action after MP Christopher de Souza’s enchantment in skilled misconduct case


SINGAPORE – Lawyer Christopher de Souza has been found accountable {of skilled} misconduct by a disciplinary tribunal.

Mr de Souza, who’s the current Deputy Speaker of Parliament and an MP for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, was found accountable of a price relating to his conduct whereas he was performing for his buyers, Amber Compounding Pharmacy and Amber Laboratories.

The tribunal found that Mr de Souza had not made full and frank disclosure to the court docket docket when he was aware that his client had breached the circumstances of a search order.

In fact, he helped his client put collectively and file an affidavit that didn’t exhibit certain paperwork which could have revealed that Amber had breached its endeavor.

The case centred on Amber buying certain paperwork by approach of a search order in 2018.

Amber filed a High Court swimsuit on Feb 14, 2018, in opposition to its former employee and the model new agency she had organize for allegedly stealing its commerce secrets and techniques and methods.

Initially represented by laws company Dodwell & Co, Amber obtained a search order on April 13, 2018, in opposition to the defendants, subject to an endeavor that Amber was to not use the paperwork with out further order.

On April 17, 2018, an entire of 116,298 paperwork have been seized.

Between July 31 and Oct 22 in 2018, Amber used 10 of the paperwork to make tales to the police, the Manpower Ministry and the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau in opposition to the defendants.

This breached its endeavor to not use the paperwork.

Amber approached laws company Lee & Lee on Nov 28, 2018, to behave for it in relation to the felony complaints in opposition to the defendants whereas Dodwell & Co continued with the swimsuit.

Mr de Souza, a confederate at Lee & Lee, knew by Dec 5, 2018, that the paperwork had been utilized by Amber. He and his company took over the swimsuit on Dec 14.

Despite this, he helped a advisor of Amber, Mr Samuel Sudesh Thaddaeus, file an affidavit on Jan 28, 2019, which didn’t reveal the breaches.

“The crux of the matter is what the respondent should have done upon discovery of the use of the documents and information by Amber, and specifically whether he should have informed the court and opposing counsel of the breach of the undertakings,” acknowledged the disciplinary tribunal.

In its report printed on Monday, the two-member tribunal, comprising Senior Counsel N. Sreenivasan and Mr Pradeep Pillai, acknowledged Mr de Souza knew there was an obligation to reveal the prior use of the paperwork.

“We are of the view that the failure to make such full and frank disclosure amounted to suppression of evidence by Amber, and by filing the supporting affidavit, the respondent was a party to and assisted in such suppression,” acknowledged the tribunal.

It found that there was motive behind ample gravity for Mr de Souza to face disciplinary sanction sooner than the Court of Three Judges on one of many 5 bills launched in opposition to him by the Law Society.

The tribunal dismissed the other 4 bills.

The Court of Three Judges, which is the very best disciplinary physique for the licensed occupation, has the flexibility to droop or disbar attorneys.

When contacted for comment, Mr de Souza’s attorneys from WongPartnership acknowledged: “There isn’t any question that Mr de Souza had acted with utmost integrity inside the conduct of this matter all the time. Four of the 5 bills have been dismissed.

“As regards the remaining charge, this is a matter now before the Court of Three Judges, and it is not appropriate for us to comment on the merits at this juncture. Suffice to say that we will strenuously resist it and argue that it too should be dismissed.”

The People’s Action Party acknowledged in an announcement on Tuesday that it’ll determine the plan of action wanted after the court docket docket affords its verdict.

“Mr de Souza has informed us that he denies any wrongdoing. He will argue his case on the one charge, on appeal before the Court of Three Judges,” acknowledged the get collectively.

It added that integrity, honesty and incorruptibility are fundamental to the get collectively, and that it expects all MPs to uphold the very best necessities.

The disciplinary proceedings arose from a letter dated Sept 9, 2020, issued on behalf of the Court of Appeal, by the deputy registrar of the Supreme Court, to the Law Society of Singapore.

The grievance was referred to an neutral inquiry committee, which was convened on Jan 13, 2021.

The inquiry committee found that Mr de Souza had breached his paramount accountability to the court docket docket, which may be deemed misconduct beneath the Legal Profession Act, and actually helpful that he be fined $2,000.

The committee didn’t variety the view {{that a}} formal investigation by a disciplinary tribunal was wanted. 

The Law Society council disagreed with the findings of the inquiry committee and utilized on Nov 5, 2021, to Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon for the appointment of a disciplinary tribunal.

This tribunal was appointed by the Chief Justice to hear to and look at the matter on Nov 19, 2021.

Over 5 days between April 6 and April 12, 2022, the tribunal heard oral testimony. Closing submissions have been made on Aug 29.

The tribunal found ample set off in solely one of many 5 bills that the Law Society launched in opposition to Mr de Souza.

The tribunal accepted that Mr de Souza had tried to steer the patron to make full disclosure. But the lawyer’s private failure to make such disclosure was not exculpated by the conduct of the patron, it acknowledged.

“We appreciate that it is hardest for a legal practitioner to do his duty when the client is difficult. But it is in such circumstances that the legal practitioner must cleave to his or her duties to the court.”

This article was first printed in The Straits Times. Permission required for duplicate.

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