Mother accused of killing 4-year-old daughter picks her lawyers, defence for co-accused objects to remand
SINGAPORE: A mother accused of killing her four-year-old daughter and burning her corpse confirmed her choice of lawyers on Thursday (Aug 6), after two sets of lawyers turned up in the last hearing to represent her.
In the same hearing, the lawyer for her co-accused objected to the prosecution's request to remand the suspects for a further week, saying that his client's charge was not for murder.
Foo Li Ping, 24, is accused of murdering her daughter Megan Khung Yu Wai sometime in February this year at a condominium. She allegedly did this with co-accused Wong Shi Xiang, 33, who also faces the capital charge.
They both face a second charge of disposing the corpse in May by burning it in a metal barrel at Paya Ubi Industrial Park.
The third accused Nouvelle Chua Ruoshi, faces only one charge - being involved in the disposal of the body with Foo and Wong.
On Thursday, lawyer Josephus Tan of Invictus Law confirmed in court that he would be representing Foo pro bono along with his colleagues Marshall Lim and Cory Wong.
Another lawyer, Peter Keith Fernando, had turned up to represent Foo at a previous mention, saying he had been approached by Foo's cousin while Foo's mother approached Mr Tan.
"We managed to speak to Ms Foo last night at Police Cantonment Complex," explained Mr Tan, adding that Mr Fernando has been discharged.
READ: Mother accused of killing 4-year-old daughter, burning her corpse sobs in court as she is remanded further
Neither Mr Tan nor Wong's lawyer Vinit Chhabra objected to the prosecutor's bid to remand all three accused for a further week for investigations.
However, Chua's lawyer Mr Thangavelu objected to having his client remanded further, saying that she has been in police custody since Jul 24.
OBJECTION FOR FURTHER REMAND
"Most importantly ... the two accused persons other than Nouvelle are facing charges for murder, whereas my client's (charge) is ... disposing of a dead body," he said.
He asked for his client's case to be separated from the main murder charge, as his client's charge could be trailed in the district court instead of in high court.
"Whatever the investigation the investigation officer is carrying on, it's very restricted to her role in disposing of the body and has nothing to do with the murder," said Mr Thangavelu.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Marcus Foo said this submission was "completely premature at this juncture" as only two weeks of remand have passed.
"Over the week, new materials have surfaced and investigations are required to obtain the accused person's accounts in relation to these materials," he added.
Work needs to be done so that a "complete picture is obtained", he said, but Mr Thangavelu argued that Chua could still cooperate with investigations while on bail.
District Judge Terence Tay said that in this case, this was "just the third remand" sought for by the prosecution, and evidence needs to be gathered.
"Given the severity of the offences against the co-accused, I'm minded to allow (the prosecution's) application," he said.
He added that if further applications for remand are made, the prosecution will have to make "more substantive justification".
If found guilty of murder, Foo and Wong can be sentenced to death, or life imprisonment, with Wong facing possible caning.
If convicted of intentionally disposing a corpse, Chua can be jailed for up to seven years.
The trio will return to court on Aug 13.