"Erm, that's not your desk"
A former lawyer in Singapore has been struck off the roll for taking upskirt and other intrusive photos of a colleague.
The lawyer, who worked at Drew & Napier at the time, cannot be named, and the victim's identity was also protected in a recent trial brought by the Law Society of Singapore.
In April 2017, the lawyer (let's call him Icky) was working late in the office with his female colleague (let's call her Vicky), who was a trainee at the time.
Icky went to Vicky's office cubicle, and asked her what she was working on. Icky leaned over from behind, and rested his body on her chair, to pretend to read her computer screen. From that angle, he proceeded to use his mobile phone to take photos of her exposed bra and chest area. On another visit to her office cubicle that evening, the lawyer also surreptitiously took photos of the trainee's underwear.
In October 2017, Icky went into Vicky's office while she was having lunch and struck up a conversation. Vicky swivelled her chair to face him. She was wearing a dress and Icky used his mobile phone to take upskirt photos. Vicky noticed this and swivelled her chair back to her desk with her legs underneath it.
However, Icky continued the conversation to get Vicky to swivel her chair back to him again, and he took more upskirt photos.
When Vicky crossed her legs, Icky asked her "whether it was painful for females to sit cross-legged for too long, and how long she could sit in that way," noted the court. Icky also sat on his colleague's desk and pressed his thigh against her upper arm.
In November 2017, Vicky lodged a complaint with the police that a colleague had "outraged her modesty." Icky resigned from the firm a week later.
At a criminal trial in 2020, Icky was sentenced to four weeks in jail.
In a victim impact statement in those criminal proceedings, Vicky said that Icky was one of her "closest friends" in the office and that she had suffered nightmares about him after the incident.
She also said that Icky had asked her to drop the case after police approached him, and carried out "emotional blackmail" by invoking mutual friends, his ill mother and his own well-being.
In the recent trial to determine if Icky should be struck off as a solicitor, the Court of Three Judges said that Icky's misconduct was "premeditated and persistant" and used "opportunistic exploitation" of the victim's expectation of safety in the workplace. The court also lambasted Icky for pressurising the victim to drop the case.
The court said that instead of showing "genuine remorse", Icky had "attempted to save his own skin by waging a war of emotional attrition".
The court stated that Icky's "egregious" conduct caused "grave dishonour" to the legal profession, and struck him from the roll.
A Drew & Napier spokeswoman told RollOnFriday: "Our firm has a strict zero-tolerance policy towards misconduct of any nature. Our colleagues work hard to maintain a supportive and respectful work environment with an open-door policy."
The spokeswoman added: "We are fully committed to ensuring that every single member of our firm feels safe and that reported cases of misconduct, sexual or otherwise are responded to swiftly. Appropriate steps were taken when the allegations came to light."
It is not the first case of someone in the legal profession taking dodgy footage.
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