SINGAPORE — In a space of a few minutes, entertainment lawyer Samuel Seow Theng Beng assaulted his niece and poked an executive in his firm over work matters.
Seow, 47, had been upset that his niece, who worked at Seow’s firm as a lawyer, had not answered a question by him. Both incidents occurred on 17 April 2018.
The owner of Samuel Seow Law Corporation, Beam Artistes and Samuel Seow Corporate pleaded guilty on Monday (27 July) to one charge each of using force with the intent to cause annoyance to Rachel Kang, a 21-year-old artiste and events executive at Beam Artistes, and voluntarily causing hurt to Brenda Kong, his 26-year-old niece who was a lawyer at Seow’s law firm.
Another two charges of a similar nature will be taken into consideration when Seow is sentenced.
Reports of Seow’s assault on the two women first emerged in 2018, with a 30-minute audio recording of a quarrel between Seow and his niece going viral online.
In 26 April last year, two videos were uploaded online, one of which was footage taken from a closed-circuit television camera in Seow’s office capturing the incident.
The CCTV footage was played in court on Monday, while Seow bowed his head down and folded his arms.
Kang filed a police report on 12 May 2018, alleging that Seow had physically abused her on a number of occasions since 26 March that year during her period of employment.
On 17 April 2018, at about 5.47pm, Kang was about to leave the office at 79 South Bridge Road to prepare for a company event when Seow scolded her for leaving with her work incomplete.
In anger, Seow poked Kang’s forehead twice forcefully with his finger. He also pushed a file that Kang was holding, causing the woman to stagger backwards.
Kong, who was present in the office, witnessed the act and left her phone on voice recording mode in case something similar happened to her.
Minutes after the first incident, Seow asked aloud the whereabouts of an associate director but Kong did not respond as she was unsure. She then walked to the photocopy machine at about 5.54pm.
When Seow saw Kong, he repeated his question and his niece replied that the associate director had a meeting from 4pm to 5pm, but that she did not know where he went thereafter.
Angered, Seow asked Kong why she had not replied him earlier and Kong said she didn’t know the associate director’s whereabouts. Unsatisfied with the answer, Seow walked towards her and repeated his question.
Kong raised her arm across her chest to protect herself when Seow approached her, and accidentally touched his chest. The contact prompted Seow to charge at Kong.
“He shouted ‘Brenda!’, before repeatedly saying ‘you beat me, you beat me, you dare to beat me’,” said Deputy Public Prosecutor Kumaresan Gohulabalan.
A scuffle ensued, with Seow pushing Kong back. A staff member attempted to restrain Seow but Seow broke free and rained slaps on Kong’s cheeks and head. Kong retaliated while at least three other employees attempted to intervene. At one point, Seow pushed Kong until she fell.
When another female employee tried to pull Seow away, Seow hit her on her arm shouting, “You stop it!” before confronting Kong again. Kong eventually managed to leave the office after Seow was restrained by a male employee.
Kong sought medical attention and was found with tenderness over her cheek, scalp, neck, arm, together with bruises and abrasions.
DPP Kumaresan told the court that it was seeking for the court to hold a Newton hearing to determine when Seow had been suffering from a psychiatric illness, adjustment disorder, and if it was causally linked to his offence. He noted that the psychiatrists from the defence and prosecution disagreed as to whether Seow was suffering from the psychiatric disorder at the time of the offence.
Seow is represented by lawyer Choo Si Sen, who told the court that the defence was seeking a mandatory treatment order report to access Seow’s suitability for the sentencing option, where an offender will undergo psychiatric treatment.
Choo did not object to a Newton hearing.
The case has been fixed for a pre-trial conference on 13 August.
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