Ex-Cop Sentenced to 25 Months for Forging Witness Statements and Lying to Court in Lawyer Bid

  • Criminal Law

In a shocking case of dishonesty and misconduct, a former police officer has been sentenced to 25 months in jail after being found guilty of forging 38 witness statements across 21 case files. The ex-officer, who later lied in his application to become a lawyer, was uncovered after a superior noticed inconsistencies in his work.

Uncovering the Forgeries

The ex-officer, who held the rank of inspector, was initially discovered by his supervisor in January 2019 when identical statements were found in two unrelated cases. Further investigation revealed that he had forged a total of 38 statements. His duties included recording statements from witnesses for both criminal and coroner’s cases, but his poor performance and failure to follow up on investigations raised suspicions.

The Extent of Dishonesty

During a review of his case files, it was found that in one instance, he had added fictitious portions to a witness’s statement and entirely fabricated another witness’s account to align with the first. This level of dishonesty required extensive reinvestigation of the affected cases to ensure the integrity of the outcomes.

Application to the Bar

While under investigation, the ex-officer resigned from the police force and applied to become a lawyer. In his affidavit to the High Court, he falsely claimed that he was not under any pending criminal investigation or proceedings. This blatant lie further undermined the integrity of the legal process.

Sentencing and Mental Health Considerations

During sentencing, it was revealed that the ex-officer suffered from adjustment disorder, a condition linked to difficulty coping with stressors or major life changes. While this condition contributed to his forgery offences, it did not excuse his false statements in the bar application. The court acknowledged his mental health issues but emphasized that they did not justify his actions.

Similar Cases in Singapore

Case 1: NUS Professors Charged with Cheating and Forgery

Two former employees of the National University of Singapore (NUS) were charged in separate cases involving cheating and forgery. One professor submitted fraudulent claims amounting to about S$100,000, while a research fellow submitted fake claims totaling about S$41,100. Both cases involved the generation of fake invoices and submission of inflated claims, leading to multiple counts of forgery and cheating.

Case 2: Billion-Dollar Money Laundering Scheme

In a massive crackdown, ten foreign nationals were charged for offences including forgery and money laundering involving approximately S$1 billion in assets. The individuals used forged documents to substantiate the source of funds in Singapore bank accounts, leading to simultaneous raids by over 400 officers and the seizure of significant assets, including luxury properties, vehicles, and cash.

Case 3: Oil Trading Scandal

The founder of an oil trading firm, was charged for cheating and forgery. He is accused of instigating the forgery of documents to deceive banks into believing his company had more oil inventory than it actually did. This massive fraud contributed to the company’s collapse and significant financial losses for creditors.

Case 4: Forged Certificates for Employment

An NTU dropout pleaded guilty to forging a degree certificate to secure employment with three different companies, including Walt Disney Company. This deception led to multiple charges of forgery and highlighted the potential risks employers face from fraudulent job applications.

Legal Proceedings and Reactions for the instant case

Deputy Public Prosecutor sought a 30-month jail sentence, highlighting the extensive efforts required to reinvestigate the cases and the persistent nature of the ex-officer’s dishonesty. The defence argued for a lesser sentence, citing workplace abuse and personal issues. Ultimately, the court sentenced him to 25 months in jail for his actions, which included forgery and intentionally giving false evidence.

Public Confidence in Legal and Investigative Processes

This case serves as a reminder of the critical importance of integrity within the police force and the legal profession. The ex-officer’s actions significantly undermined public confidence in these institutions, and the court’s decision reflects the seriousness of such misconduct. For each count of forgery, he faced up to four years in jail and a fine, while the charge of giving false evidence in a judicial proceeding carried a potential sentence of up to seven years and a fine.

Conclusion

The sentencing of the ex-police officer to 25 months in jail underscores the severe consequences of dishonesty and misconduct within law enforcement and legal professions. This case highlights the importance of vigilance and integrity in maintaining public trust and the proper administration of justice.

Article authored by Mohamed Baiross