SINGAPORE — The Law Society is seeking to strike longtime barrister and lawyer Samuel Seow from the dockets following his assault on three female staff members he employed in 2018.
The Law Society, represented by Dhillon Dinesh Singh, Alisa Toh and Loong Tse Chuan, argued that Seow had not only brought the legal profession into disrepute, but had also demonstrated a lack of integrity in the way which he had painted his version of events to the media.
In a three-judge court on Monday (Feb. 28), lead attorney Singh said that because the context of the offenses was an employer-employee relationship, Seow had breached the trust his subordinates placed in him.
Seow still practices today. According to the Department of Justice Lawyer Directory, Seow is a consultant at Robert Wang & Woo LLP.
Seow pleaded guilty on July 27, 2020 to criminal charges involving force against Rachel Kang, a performer and events manager at Beam Artistes, and Brenda Kong, her niece and an attorney at Seow’s law firm. He also admitted two other counts, involving another employee.
Seow has yet to be convicted as his case has been adjourned for a hearing on his psychiatric issues.
Recording, footage of assault has gone viral
Reports of Seow’s assault on women first surfaced in 2018, with a 30-minute audio recording of an argument between Seow and his niece going viral. A year later, two videos capturing the acts of violence were posted online.
On April 17, 2018, Seow forcefully pushed Kang’s forehead with her finger and pushed the folders she was carrying. He was later captured raining slaps on Kong and punching another employee who tried to pull him away. He was eventually restrained by a male employee.
As a result of his criminal case, the Law Society brought eight counts of misconduct against him unbecoming an attorney and an attorney to a disciplinary tribunal. Seow pleaded guilty to all eight counts and Monday’s hearing was to decide the appropriate sentence.
Not unique, says the Bar
Arguing before Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon and Appeals Judges Andrew Phang and Steven Chong, Singh said Seow’s conduct had been unacceptable, regardless of the skill of the employee.
“(Seow) we have to point out that he is a 19-year-old senior member of the bar,” said Singh, who added that the incident was not one-time, but showed an unacceptable pattern of behavior over the course of the incident. time.
Seow’s lack of integrity was evidenced by the way he presented a contradictory account with the facts to which he pleaded guilty. Seow had given interviews to media accusing the victims and downplayed the incident on a Facebook post.
Singh argued that Seow made matters worse by “bringing the whole incident into the public eye” through the media, with “little regard for the victim’s truth”, showing that his only concern seemed to be his own reputation. .
Regarding Seow’s adjustment disorder diagnosis, Singh said it was not made until a year after the incident and Seow’s psychiatrist did not explain how it contributed to the offence.
If the judges don’t disbar Seow, the Law Society will seek a four-year suspension.
Slaps with lots of drama
Representing Seow, lawyers Eugene Thuraisingam, Chooi Jing Yen, Johannes Hadi and Genghis Koh argued that Seow had been stressed during the offenses and had since taken steps to see his psychiatrist.
Thuraisingam said Seow recognized he had fallen short of the ideals of what is required of the profession and was prepared to accept the necessary consequences.
However, CJ Menon was unconvinced, saying, “That doesn’t break the ice because every lawyer who has a serious practice is stressed and you know it. You represent death row inmates, you know how stressful this job is… I don’t think stress is a relevant factor in this context.
Asked by Appeals Judge Chong about the appropriate punishment, Thuraisingam drew the court’s attention to the circumstances of the case and sought to differentiate between degrees of violence, adding that Seow’s assaults were not ” extremely hard blows” but very violent slaps. drama.
In response, the Chief Justice noted that Seow’s video did not “fit” the narrative Thuraisingam was presenting.
Appeals Judge Phang also cautioned Thuraisingam against “slicing” the incident, but looking at it holistically. “I think it may do more harm than good to justify something that ultimately cannot be justified,” Judge said.
The Three-Judge Court will deliver its judgment at a later date.
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