Orchard Towers death: Claims of preferential treatment for different races in sentencing ‘false and baseless’, says AGC

Orchard Towers death: Claims of preferential treatment for different races in sentencing ‘false and baseless’, says AGC

A view of Orchard Towers after it shut down shortly before midnight, as part of measures to curb th
A view of Orchard Towers on Mar 27, 2020. (File photo: Reuters/Edgar Su)

SINGAPORE: The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) on Friday (Oct 16) refuted allegations made on social media that the individuals involved in the case of a death at Orchard Towers received preferential treatment in sentencing because of their race.

The AGC has directed the police to investigate those responsible for the social media posts that "are potentially in contempt of court".

“The Attorney-General’s Chambers is aware of social media posts alleging preferential treatment of accused persons involved in the death of 31-year-old Satheesh Noel s/o Gobidass at Orchard Towers on Jul 2, 2019, based on their race,” the AGC said in a media statement.

“Any allegation that the Court imposes sentences on offenders on account of their race, and imposes harsher sentences if they are a member of a minority race, is categorically false and baseless.”

SEVEN INDIVIDUALS INITIALLY CHARGED WITH MURDER

Of the seven people initially charged with the murder of Mr Satheesh, six have had their charges reduced.

Two people initially charged with murder were dealt with in court on reduced charges in the past week, one receiving a five-month jail sentence and another receiving a conditional warning.

READ: Man originally charged with murder in Orchard Towers case gets conditional warning for reduced charge

READ: Woman originally charged with murder in Orchard Towers case gets 5 months' jail on downgraded offences

Chan Jia Xing was given a conditional warning on Thursday for a reduced charge of consorting with a person possessing an offensive weapon.

The sole woman in the case, Natalie Siow Yu Zhen, was sentenced to five months' jail on Oct 9. She pleaded guilty to one charge each of voluntarily causing hurt with common intention and of consorting with a person possessing an offensive weapon.

READ: Orchard Towers death: First two men sentenced for role in fatal fight

READ: Two more get murder charges downgraded, leaving one facing capital charge in Orchard Towers death

In March, co-accused Joel Tan Yun Sheng received four weeks' jail for voluntarily causing hurt with common intention.

Ang Da Yuan was given eight months' jail and six strokes of the cane for voluntarily causing hurt to the victim by kicking and punching him, and to consorting with Tan Sen Yang, the only accused left facing a murder charge.

Tan Hong Sheng and Loo Boon Chong have also had their charges reduced, from murder to consorting with a person carrying an offensive weapon. Their cases are still pending.

The AGC said that the six individuals had their charges reduced because they “were found not to be involved in causing the death of the deceased”.

“At no point did the Police and AGC take the race of the deceased and the seven individuals into consideration in its decision,” it said.

The AGC also said that the sentences handed to Joel Tan, Siow and Ang were in line with sentencing guidelines for their charges, while Chan only received a warning because “he tried to stop the attack on the deceased” and has cooperated with police investigations.

Chan may still face his consorting charge should he commit a crime during his 12-month warning period.

“Allegations of preferential treatment for different races are baseless and have the potential to disrupt racial harmony in Singapore, causing irreversible divisions in our communities,” the statement concluded.

“AGC will not hesitate to take action against those who fall foul of the law.”

Source: CNA/kg(ac)

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