What you need to know about the case
To understand the steps that led to her downfall and being labeled by the judge as “deceitful”, here’s a quick recap on the issue to bring you up to speed.
Earlier this year, while everyone was still reeling from the hangovers of New Year’s parties, the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) was hot on the heels of lawyer Ms Lee Suet Fern. AGC had highlighted to the Law Society about the possible professional misconduct of Ms Lee Suet Fern with regards to the will of Singapore’s late founding father Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
What made this a tricky situation was that Ms Lee Suet Fern was Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s daughter in law and that her husband, Mr Lee Hsien Yang, has publicly denied their involvement in drafting of Mr Lee kuan Yew’s last will.
Alas, the plot thickens.
Mistake 1: Lied about her role in drafting the last will
Ms Lee Suet Fern had asserted that her role was “minor” and she was merely acting as an “obedient wife” to Mr Lee Hsien Yang.
However, it was proven that she took up managing every aspect – from drafting, to inserting clauses to asking Ms Lee Suet Fern’s law firm, Stamford LAw, to engross and witness the signing.
Ms Lee Suet Fern’s intention to downplay her role was contradicted by her own actions.
Mistake 2: Ms Lee Suet Fern did not alert Mr Lee Kuan Yew to the changes of the will
The disciplinary tribunal found that Ms Lee Suet Fern did not alert Mr Lee Kuan Yew to the differences between the two wills.
She clearly breached her professional duties when neglecting to advise Mr Lee Kuan Yew on the addition of a major clause – the Demolition Clause.
She was instead focused on getting the will signed quickly. Hmmm…
Mistake 3: Ms Lee Suet Fern drafting the last will and executing it is a downright conflict of interest
By effecting changes to the last will, the shares of her husband Mr Lee Hsien Yang would increase.
This is quite a clear case of conflict of interest and a lawyer with close to 4 decades of experience should have known better.
Do you agree with the tribunal’s assessment?
The Disciplinary Tribunal found Ms Lee Suet Fern guilty of grossly improper professional conduct in her handling of late founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew’s final will. It called Suet Fern – who is married to Lee Kuan Yew’s youngest child Lee Hsien Yang – a “deceitful witness, who tailored her evidence to portray herself as an innocent victim who had been maligned”. The tribunal added that the conduct of Hsien Yang, who testified as a witness, was “equally deceitful”.