SINGAPORE: On Monday (Jul 31), the Court of Three Judges cleared Christopher de Souza of misconduct as a lawyer. The Law Society, which originally raised five charges against him, had sought a four-year suspension for Mr de Souza.
However, the 47-year-old PAP Member of Parliament for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC and Deputy Speaker of Parliament was found guilty in December 2022 by a disciplinary tribunal of only one of the charges, aiding a client to suppress evidence from the court.
Mr de Souza appeared pleased upon hearing the verdict, CNA reported.
The Court of Three Judges, comprised in the MP’s case of Justices Belinda Ang, Woo Bih Li and Kannan Ramesh, is the highest disciplinary body for lawyers. It is within the Court’s purview to disbar, suspend or fine a lawyer guilty of professional misconduct or to clear a lawyer of these charges.
The charge against Mr de Souza, a partner at Lee & Lee, was related to dealings with his clients, Amber Compounding Pharmacy and Amber Laboratories.
The disciplinary tribunal determined that Mr de Souza had failed to make “a full and frank disclosure to the court when he was aware that his client had breached the conditions of a search order,” reported The Straits Times.
However, on Jul 31, the Court of Three Judges said that it had been evident that the MP had not intended to suppress the breach.
“Intention is a necessary ingredient of the charge”, the Law Society had made against Mr de Souza, said Justice Belinda Ang, who had delivered the verdict.
She added that the lawyer had urged his client to disclose the breach consistently, based on the evidence presented.
Mr de Souza said through his lawyers that he was “naturally extremely pleased” about the vindication three years after the case began in 2020.
He also thanked his colleagues, friends, and constituents for their “unstinting support and encouragement during this time,” added CNA. /TISG
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