Tey's affiliation with the legal circles was not limited to NUS. He was previously Law Clerk to the former Chief Justice of Singapore, District Judge of the Subordinate Courts, and State Counsel at the Legislation Division of the Attorney-General’s Chambers of Singapore. He was a member of the editorial committees of the Singapore Journal of Legal Studies and the Singapore Journal of International and Comparative Law, and the Executive Committee of the Centre for Commercial Law Studies. Until 2008, he was the Deputy Chief Editor of Singapore Year Book of International Law. He was the Director of Centre for Commercial Law Studies and the Editor of the Asian Journal of Comparative Law.
Someone with such impeccable credentials should know about the law, or so we thought.
At the least, Tey should know the ramification for not showing up for his appeal - which was strangely launched after he had already served his sentence - the Criminal Procedure Code allows judges to throw out cases where appellants are absent. His own lawyer was informed of his planned absence 5 minutes before the court proceedings started, which reflects the kind of respect the don has for him, and other like professionals, in the legal system.
Why then, one might ask, bother to produce a new law school ("SIM University to host third law school") to focus on training prospective lawyers if law teachers don't know, or respect, the law? Professor Simon Chesterman and Dean of NUS Law Faculty said the new programme will increase options for Singaporean students with a passion for law - not nubile law students - and help ensure access to justice for all. Chesterman is rumoured to sympathise with Tey's predicament, supposedly holding view that the punishment was too harsh for philandering predilections. What is not rumour is that Chesterman is related to The President by marriage.
Don't even get started about "access to justice for all". High Court Justice Tay Yong Kwang has just dismissed an application for judicial review over the inquiry into Dinesh Ramesh's death. Apparently the Coroner’s Notes reveal that the Coroner asked one and only question, “What should he (prison officer) have done?” Pontius Pilate is reputed to have asked, "Truth? What is truth?" (Latin Quid est veritas?) and would not stay for an answer. Tharman Shanmugaratnam is not a lawyer, but his answer (for Charles Goodyear’s abrupt resignation from Temasek Holdings) could well be taken as law:
"People do want to know, there is curiosity, it is a matter of public interest. That is not sufficient reason to disclose information. It is not sufficient that there be curiosity and interest that you want to disclose information.”