SINGAPORE: Three of the seven suspects charged over the murder of a 31-year-old man at Orchard Towers have had their charges reduced.
Tan Hong Sheng, 22, Chan Jia Xing, 26, and 25-year-old Loo Boon Chong had their murder charges withdrawn on Thursday (Jul 11) as the seven returned to court.
They are now charged with consorting with a person carrying an offensive weapon - an offence that carries a penalty of up to three years' jail and caning.
According to charge sheets, the three men are accused of being in the company of co-accused Tan Sen Yang at Naughty Girl Club on Jul 2. Tan allegedly had a foldable karambit knife, a small curved knife resembling a claw, with him at the time.
Loo is represented by lawyers Diana Ngiam and Sujesh Anandan from Quahe Woo & Palmer, while lawyers Josephus Tan, Cory Wong and Shane Yeo are defending Tan Hong Sheng and Chan, taking over representation of the latter from lawyer John Koh.
The three men had been charged along with three other men and one woman for the murder of Mr Satheesh Noel Gobidass at Orchard Towers on Jul 2.
The other four suspects are: Tan Sen Yang, 27, Ang Da Yuan, 26, Joel Tan Yun Sheng, 26, and Natalie Siow Yu Zhen, 22.
Siow is represented by lawyers Cheryl Ng from Intelleigen Legal and Amarick Gill, while Joel Tan is also being represented by lawyers from Invictus Law Corporation, led by defence counsel Josephus Tan.
The other four remain accused of murder with common intention. They allegedly formed an unlawful assembly with the common goal of hurting Mr Satheesh, and caused his death at the entrance of Orchard Towers at about 6.30am on Jul 2.
Police officers responded to a call for help that morning and found the victim motionless at the scene. He was taken to hospital and pronounced dead.
Closed-circuit television footage obtained by 8world News showed a man walking slowly in front of an escalator before collapsing, prompting onlookers to rush forward to check on him.
District Judge Terence Tay ordered that the three men who had their murder charges withdrawn could not contact their co-accused, accomplices nor any of the prosecution's witnesses.
Tan Hong Sheng and Chan Jia Xing were offered bail of S$25,000, while lawyer Diana Ngiam successfully argued for her client Loo to be given S$15,000 bail instead.
She told the judge that Loo was not a flight risk, that he had voluntarily gone to the police station to assist with investigations and will have one of his parents as his bailor.
The prosecution successfully applied for Tan Sen Yang to be remanded as he is believed to be involved in other offences, while Joel Tan and Ang Dayuan were ordered to be remanded at Changi Medical Complex for psychiatric assessment.
The judge ordered Siow to be remanded at Changi Women's Prison for three weeks for psychiatric assessment.
If convicted, the suspects charged with murder with common intention could face the death penalty.
The penalty for carrying offensive weapons in public places is a maximum of three years' jail and at least six strokes of the cane.