Court orders lawyer Samuel Seow to be struck off for abusing employees in 2018

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SINGAPORE: A court on Wednesday (May 18) ordered entertainment lawyer Samuel Seow Theng Beng to be struck off the roll of advocates and solicitors for physically and verbally abusing his employees in 2018.

Delivering the judgment on behalf of the Court of Three Judges, Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon said there was due cause for disciplinary action against Seow.

"It is plain that a reasonable person would, without hesitation, say that as a solicitor he should not have done what he has done," said the Chief Justice.

"His misconduct brings him discredit as a lawyer and brings discredit to the legal profession as a whole."

The decision to strike off Seow, who has been a lawyer for about 20 years, came after the Law Society of Singapore (LawSoc) in February urged the court to make such an order.

In Wednesday's ruling, the Court of Three Judges said that in cases of misconduct not involving dishonesty or conflicts of interest, there were two questions to consider when deciding if a striking off order was warranted.

First, the court should consider whether the misconduct points to any character defects making the lawyer unfit to be a member of the legal profession.

Second, the court should consider whether the lawyer has caused grave dishonour to the standing of the legal profession.

The court found that both questions were answered in the affirmative in Seow's case.

Seow's conduct "evinced such volatility and lack of self-control that it detracts from his ability to discharge his professional functions", said Chief Justice Menon.

"His behaviour was egregious, involving both protracted instances of physical and verbal abuse ... and extreme threats."

He also said that the "quick succession" of eight instances of misconduct in just over a month reflected a sustained pattern of offensive conduct.

"We are therefore satisfied that the respondent’s conduct demonstrates a character defect rendering the solicitor unfit to be a member of the legal profession," said the Chief Justice.

INCIDENTS OF WORKPLACE ABUSE

Seow pleaded guilty to the eight charges brought against him by LawSoc for physically and verbally abusing three of his employees in March and April 2018.

At the time, he was the managing director of Samuel Seow Law Corporation and al...

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