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AGC clarifies reduced charges in Orchard Towers murder case following queries

AGC clarifies reduced charges in Orchard Towers murder case following queries

Pieces of tissue paper soaked in blood seen at the entrance of Orchard Towers on Jul 2, 2019. (Photo: 8world News/Cai Youxia)

SINGAPORE: The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) issued a release on Tuesday (Oct 2o) clarifying the reduced charges in the Orchard Towers case, which initially saw seven people charged with the murder of a 31-year-old man.

Tan Sen Yang, Joel Tan Yun Sheng, Chan Jia Xing, Ang Da Yuan, Loo Boon Chong, Tan Hong Sheng and Natalie Siow Yu Zhen were charged in July last year with common intention to murder Mr Satheesh Noel Gobidass, 31.

Of the seven, only Tan Sen Yang faces the capital charge of murder. He was transmitted to High Court on Tuesday (Oct 20) and stands accused of causing the death of Mr Satheesh Noel by using a karambit knife with the intention of causing multiple injuries on the victim’s head and neck area.

The six others had their charges reduced, with four cases concluded. Cases against two men – Tan Hong Sheng and Loo – are ongoing.

READ: Evidence, intention and involvement: AGC, lawyers explain the decisions behind reducing murder charges

READ: Accused in Orchard Towers murder case arrested after jumping bail, slapped with new charge in court

“AGC has received queries with respect to the charges preferred against various individuals involved in the above incident, and would like to clarify the matter,” said the public prosecutor's office.

In the early hours of Jul 2, 2019, the group of seven was drinking at Naughty Girl Club on the second floor of Orchard Towers. Tan Sen Yang had “at one point” allegedly placed the knife on the table and this was seen by some in the group.

As the group was leaving the building, they were confronted by Mr Satheesh Noel.

ANG, SIOW AND JOEL TAN GIVEN REDUCED CHARGES

Tan Sen Yang, Ang, Siow and Joel Tan fought with the victim, with Tan Sen Yang allegedly slashing the victim a few times.

The three others, namely Chan, Tan Hong Sheng and Loo, were “either not involved in, or had tried to stop, the fight”, said the AGC on Tuesday.

Ang, Siow and Joel Tan admitted to kicking and punching Mr Satheesh Noel during the fight.

“However, there was no prior plan to assault him,” said the AGC.

“The entire incident, from the time of the initial confrontation to the time the deceased collapsed, lasted less than one minute. They also did not know that Tan would use a weapon during the fight.”

Their acts resulted in two abrasions on the victim’s upper body, which were “minor and non-fatal in nature”, said the AGC, adding that there was insufficient evidence to show that "they intended to cause more than simple hurt". 

Ang, Siow and Joel Tan were charged with voluntarily causing hurt with common intention.

As Ang and Siow had remained in Tan's company despite knowing he was carrying the karambit knife, both were charged with consorting with a person carrying an offensive weapon in a public place.

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

ANG, SIOW AND JOEL TAN SENTENCED

On the basis of the abrasions alone, the “ordinary sentencing tariff” for voluntarily causing hurt with common intention would have been a fine, said the AGC.

This falls in the lowest band of a fine or imprisonment of up to four weeks, based on the guidelines from a previous case.

“On account of there being group violence, and public disquiet as the fight had taken place with many members of the public present, balanced with the guilty plea of the accused persons, one month’s imprisonment was sought for Joel Tan and Siow respectively for this charge,” said the public prosecutor’s office.

“As Ang was traced with violent antecedents, a sentence of two months’ imprisonment was sought for this charge.”

For the charge of consorting with a person carrying an offensive weapon in public, the prosecution sought six months’ jail and six strokes of the cane for Ang.

As Siow is not liable to be caned because she is a woman, an uplift of three months was sought, bringing the total sentence asked for her to nine months in total.

These sentences sought by the prosecution were in line with guidance by the Court in Sentencing Practice in the Subordinate Courts, said the AGC.

Ang was sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment and six strokes of the cane, with his sentences for both charges to run consecutively.

Siow, who had no previous convictions, was sentenced to five months’ jail in addition to the 107 days that she had earlier spent in remand.

Joel Tan, who had no previous convictions, was sentenced to one month’s jail.

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

CONDITIONAL WARNING FOR CHAN

Chan, who was not involved in the fight, was given a 12-month conditional warning for his charge of consorting with a person carrying an offensive weapon in a public place.

The AGC said it had considered the facts of the case and Chan’s involvement, including that “he tried to stop the attack” on Mr Satheesh Noel, as well as his cooperation with police investigations.

The public prosecutor’s office said it directed the police to issue him with the warning, and that the charge against Chan may be revived should he re-offend within the 12-month period.

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

TWO MEN'S CASES PENDING

The cases for Tan Hong Sheng and Loo remain before the court.

Tan Hong Sheng faces one charge of consorting with a person carrying an offensive weapon in a public place, while Loo faces one charge of consorting with a person carrying an offensive weapon in a public place and one charge of perverting the course of justice.

Source: CNA/mi(hs)

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