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Lawyer representing American who leaked HIV data quits, citing irreconcilable differences

The lawyer of the American accused of leaking confidential data from Singapore’s HIV registry has quit, citing “serious, persistent and irreconcilable differences” between him and his client, Mikhy Farrera Brochez.

In a motion to the US Federal Court in Kentucky where the case is being tried, attorney John Oakley said that Brochez has made “false accusations regarding promises and assurances” by Mr Oakley and the United States.

According to Court documents, Mr Brochez had also made known that he was not satisfied with the advice and services of Mr Oakley. Consequently, Mr Oakley said he was no longer able to represent Mr Brochez in an “ethical, competent and professional manner”.

As such, Mr Brochez hearings have now been delayed. A pre-trial conference in Kentucky, US was scheduled for 24 April with a jury trial slated for 7 May. These have now been pushed to 17 May and 3 June respectively following Mr Oakley’s withdrawal as Mr Brochez’s attorney.

As for now, another lawyer, Adele Brown, has been appointed to represent Mr Brochez in further proceedings. She had applied for the extension of the hearings as she needed additional time to prepare for the trial.

Case background

Mr Brochez, who is accused of leaking the data of 14,200 people listed on the HIV registry in Singapore was ordered by US court in March to surrender the leaked data and all other confidential information to the Singapore authorities. He was also ordered to remove all online posts and references to the data.

He was deported from Singapore to the US in April 2018 after serving time in prison for lying about his HIV status to gain an employment pass. The Singapore government alleges that Mr Brochez is responsible for emailing links from the HIV registry to several media outlets between June 2018 to January 2019.

Brochez had also threatened to leak more names and information if his husband, Singaporean doctor Ler Tech Siang was not “released”.

Mr Ler who was head of the Ministry of Health’s National Public Health Unit from March 2012 to May 2013 was said to have access to the registry in question. Ler lost his appeal on 11 March against his conviction for helping Brochez fool the Singapore authorities into issuing him an employment pass. His faces a 2 year jail sentence for the offence of submitting two HIV blood tests using his own blood in Brochez’s name in 2008 and 2013.

Brochez has been remanded at the Fayette County Detention Centre in Kentucy, USA, since February 2019.