SINGAPORE: A man accused of instigating a Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) colleague to push a full-time national serviceman into a well had been eating cake before the incident and did not hear the victim's protests.
This was part of an account of the day’s events agreed on by both defence and prosecution, revealed in court on Monday (Jul 22), the opening day of the trial.
Corporal (CPL) Kok Yuen Chin, 22, died on May 13 last year after being pushed into a 12m-deep pump well filled with water at Tuas View Fire Station.
READ: SCDF officer who pushed NSF Kok Yuen Chin into well describes incident he has guilt, nightmares over
First Warrant Officer Mohamed Farid Mohd Saleh, 35, claimed trial on Monday to one charge of instigating his colleague Muhammad Nur Fatwa Mahmood to push CPL Kok in, causing his death.
Farid, who is defended by lawyer Chhabra Vinit, is the last of the five officers charged over CPL Kok's death to have his case heard.
The first witness to take the stand was SCDF regular Al-Khudaifi Chang Zhi Hao, who had testified in the trial of Nazhan and Chong.
He described the same sequence of events to the court, adding that Farid and Fatwa were "very close", calling each other by their first names or nicknames "Ayed" and "Wawa" respectively.
When station master Major Huang Weikang arrived at the scene that day and asked what happened, Fatwa raised his hand and said he had pushed CPL Kok in, said Mr Chang.
According to him, Fatwa added that Farid had asked him to do so.
According to a set of facts agreed on by both the prosecution and defence, CPL Kok and his colleagues were in a room that day celebrating his impending Operationally Ready Date with a cake and plaque presentation.
Some officers in the room started shouting "kolam, kolam", referring to the well or the ritual of entering the well.
HE DID NOT HEAR CPL KOK SAYING "DON'T"
Some officers then lifted CPL Kok and carried him out of the room. Farid, who remained in the room to take a second slice of cake, did not see who carried CPL Kok or how he was carried to the well.
He also did not hear CPL Kok's calls of "Jangan encik, jangan", meaning "Don't encik, don't", as he joined the group only later when they had placed CPL Kok on the ground.
When Farid joined the rest of the men gathered at the edge of the pump well, he joined a few of the officers in telling CPL Kok to sit down.
CPL Kok was seated with his legs dangling the well when Fatwa suddenly pushed him forcefully on his back.
According to Fatwa's plea of guilt, Farid had commented that "it was slow" and told Fatwa to push CPL Kok into the well.
CPL Kok did not resurface and was rescued from the well 36 minutes after being pushed in. He died later in hospital, with the cause of death certified as drowning.
Of the five officers charged over the incident, Fatwa was jailed a year and four weeks in October for pushing CPL Kok into the well, while Staff Sergeant Adighazali Suhaimi was jailed for one month in December for deleting incriminating evidence.
Fatwa had testified as a prosecution's witness for the ongoing trial of his superiors, First Senior Warrant Officer Nazhan Mohamed Nazi and Lieutenant Chong Chee Boon Kenneth.
If found guilty of instigating Fatwa to push CPL Kok into the well, causing his death, Farid could be jailed for up to five years, fined, or both.
The trial continues for the rest of this week, while the trial of the two rota commanders Nazhan and Chong is set to resume later this year.