Singapore—The South China Morning Post (SCMP) published a letter from Sir David Lewis, a former lord mayor of London as well as a former president of City of London Law Society, on Monday morning (Nov 30), wherein he expressed concern over the suspension of Lee Suet Fern.
In his letter, published under the title, “What I know about Singapore’s Lee Suet Fern,” he called Mrs Lee’s suspension ”a stain on the international reputation of Singapore.”
On Nov 20, the Court of Three Judges suspended Mrs Lee from practising law for 15 months over her handling of the last will of her late father-in-law, Singapore’s founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.
In its written judgment, the court said that Mrs Lee had been found guilty of misconduct, as she had “blindly followed the directions of her husband, a significant beneficiary under the very will whose execution she helped to rush through”.
Sir David wrote that he had been disturbed to read about “the Singapore Law Society’s failed attempt to disbar Lee Suet Fern.”
“Lee Kuan Yew was himself a lawyer, and the idea that he would have signed anything against his wishes is fantasy. A Court of Three Judges concluded last week that Lee Suet Fern should not be struck off but should be suspended from practice for 15 months for misconduct,” he added.
Sir David pointed out that the Court had accepted that Mrs Lee had not acted as Lee Kuan Yew’s solicitor, that he had not communicated with her regarding his will since she was overseas at that time, that he was content with his will and that “there was no dishonesty or undue influence involved.”
Moreover, Sir David attested to Mrs Lee’s character, writing that he has known her for four decades. “She is a senior lawyer of undisputed ability, ethics, and experience, and a partner in a major US global law firm.”
The former lord mayor of London also added a story about Lee Kuan Yew’s opinion of Mrs Lee. “When I hosted a lunch for Lee Kuan Yew in 2008 in London, he told me of his trust and admiration for her. Who will believe that he would have had any objection to his daughter-in-law helping to arrange for the witnessing of his will, which she did not draft, or that she acted in any way improperly? In my view, she has been unjustly suspended, a stain on the international reputation of Singapore.”
He added that it would be a delight to welcome her back to practice law in London, as she had trained there after her studies in Cambridge.
Lee Hsien Yang, the husband of Mrs Lee and younger brother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, posted a link to Sir David’s letter to the SCMP on his Facebook page on Monday afternoon.
He wrote, “Sir David Lewis, former lord mayor of London; former president, City of London Law Society wrote to both the Straits Times and South China Morning Post. The Straits Times did not reply to his letter.”
Mr Lee added Sir David’s quote as well: “In my view, she has been unjustly suspended, a stain on the international reputation of Singapore.“ —/TISG