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Funeral director gets culpable homicide charge downgraded to abetting suicide of ex-boyfriend

Funeral director gets culpable homicide charge downgraded to abetting suicide of ex-boyfriend

Alverna Cher is charged with abetting suicide and obstructing the course of justice. (Facebook/Alverna Cher)

SINGAPORE: A funeral director originally accused of culpable homicide in the death of her ex-boyfriend had her charge downgraded to abetting suicide and obstructing justice.

Alverna Cher Sheue Pin, 39, was first charged in December 2020 with one count of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

She was accused of committing an act that caused the death of 32-year-old Wee Jun Xiang on May 16, 2020, at Deck 4B of the multi-storey car park at Block 145A Bedok Reservoir Road.

Cher's charge was downgraded on Tuesday (Oct 26). She now faces two charges: First, for abetting Mr Wee's suicide at the car park on May 16, 2020, and second, for obstructing the course of justice.

She is accused of turning the valve of a tank of nitrogen gas, then abetting Mr Wee to take his own life using the gas. Charge sheets further detailed how she "facilitated" the suicide.

She is also accused of obstructing the course of justice on the afternoon of May 16, 2020, in three ways: By requesting a Lawrence Cheo Oon Hui to drive a van away from the car park when it contained the tank of nitrogen gas; by disposing of a bag used in the suicide; and by falsely informing a police officer that Mr Wee had told Cher he had chest discomfort for two weeks and that Cher believed Mr Wee died of a heart attack.

On the day of Mr Wee's death, the police were alerted to a case they categorised as an unnatural death. In December last year, police issued a news release about Cher's arrest after follow-up investigations uncovered her suspected involvement.

Cher is represented pro bono by Invictus Law counsels Josephus Tan, Cory Wong and Josiah Zee. She was offered bail of S$100,000.

Mr Tan told the court that his client intends to post bail, and said he needed to take detailed instructions from Cher on the prosecution's plead-guilty offer once bail is posted.

The case was adjourned to a pre-trial conference next month.

According to Cher's Linkedin profile, she is a funeral director at City Funeral Singapore and the founder of the CARE planner certification programme which provides services such as will planning.

The penalty for abetting suicide is a jail term of up to 10 years and a fine. For obstructing the course of justice, an offender can be jailed up to seven years, fined, or both.

Had Cher been convicted of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, she could have faced either life imprisonment, or 20 years' jail and a fine. She cannot be caned as she is a woman.

Where to get help:

Samaritans of Singapore Hotline: 1800 221 4444

Institute of Mental Health’s Helpline: 6389 2222

Singapore Association for Mental Health Helpline: 1800 283 7019

You can also find a list of international helplines here. If someone you know is at immediate risk, call 24-hour emergency medical services.

Source: CNA/ll(mi)


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