Can agent provocateur evidence be admitted in court? Law Society v Tan Phyllis

Law Society of Singapore v Tan Guat Neo Phyllis
[2007] SGHC 207
Law Society of Singapore engaged Jenny, a private investigator, to obtain evidence that Tan’s law firm had been touting (paying for referrals) for conveyancing work, which his not allowed under the Law Society Rules. 
·         Jenny telephoned Tan, and claimed she was a real estate agent who might want to engage the law firm to act for her client in the purchase of a property.
·         Jenny secretly recorded that conversation on her audio recorder
·         Jenny also made a secret video recording of her meeting with Tan’s law firm, where they offered to pay her a referral fee for referring conveyancing them.

The defence argued that the recordings should be excluded because they had been obtained illegally by Jenny. However, the court held that “Jenny’s conduct could not be said to be illegal for abetting the respondent to induce a private party (i.e. Jenny) to do a favour in exchange for a bribe or gratification.
·         First, Jenny did not have any corrupt intent in doing what she did as her only objective was to expose the professional misconduct of the respondent.
·         Thirdly, Jenny’s fake conveyancing transaction had not induced the law firm to offer the referral fee; the law firm was doing this anyway.
·         Accordingly, the evidence which Jenny obtained was rightly admitted into court. , even assuming that the law on entrapment and illegally
·         The Evidence Act stated that all relevant evidence was admissible it was unless specifically stated to be inadmissible.


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