Judge allows naming of 6 trainee lawyers who cheated in Singapore Bar exams

·Senior Editor
·3-min read
Justice Scales and books and wooden gavel
Justice scales and a wooden gavel. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The names of six trainee lawyers who were found to have cheated while taking their Singapore Bar examinations are allowed to be publicly revealed, after the presiding judge had previously ruled that their identities be redacted in court documents.

The ruling on Wednesday (27 April) comes after Justice Choo Han Teck of the High Court announced in his grounds of decision released last week that the six trainee lawyers – listed in court documents as the applicants – had been asked to adjourn their applications for admission to the Bar due to their cheating during the 2020 Bar examinations.

The names of the six trainee lawyers listed in the judgment are: Monisha Devaraj; Kushal Atul Shah; Sreeraam Ravenderan; Kuek Yi Ting, Lynn; Chow Jun Feng, Matthew; Wong Choong Yoong, Lionel.

In his latest judgment, Justice Choo said, “Initially I believed that redacting the names of the applicants would let them to go about the process of recovery quietly and uneventfully, but I am now of the view that it is better to face the publicity than to hide from it.”

Justice Choo also noted the intense public interest in the identities of the trainee lawyers. “The tremendous public interest in the applicants’ identities seems to have been borne by a mix of curiosity, indignation, as well as sympathy,” he said.

In this instance, Justice Choo said that “sometimes, redemption cannot be claimed behind the mask of anonymity, but by baring one's face and looking everyone in the eye.”

In his grounds of decision released on 18 April, Justice Choo noted the Attorney-General’s (AG) objection that the six applicants were “not fit and proper persons to be admitted to the Bar” as they had cheated in the Part B of the Singapore Bar examinations in 2020. The AG was of the view that the applicants “lacked honesty and integrity”, and should not be admitted to the Bar, at least not for a while.

Five of the six applicants communicated with each other and shared answers in six of the papers through WhatsApp. The remaining applicant colluded with another examinee and cheated in three of the papers.

The five applicants and the remaining applicant had been asked by the AG to adjourn their applications for six months and 12 months, respectively. The lawyers for the Law Society of Singapore, and the Singapore Institute of Legal Education, and the applicants agreed with the AG's proposal.

According to a report by The Straits Times on 19 April, the AG is considering five more applications by candidates who had cheated in the 2020 Bar examinations.

With the names of the six trainee lawyers allowed to be made known publicly, Justice Choo said in his latest judgment that “the Law Society has a new responsibility of helping the applicants involved in this episode. And I am sure there are many members of the Law Society who are ready to lend a hand”.

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