Man originally charged with murder in Orchard Towers case gets conditional warning for reduced charge
SINGAPORE: A man who was among seven people to be charged with murdering a 31-year-old man at Orchard Towers was given a conditional warning on Thursday (Oct 15) for a reduced charge of consorting with a person possessing an offensive weapon.
Under the conditional warning, 27-year-old Chan Jia Xing will have to refrain from any criminal conduct for a year. If he commits an offence within this period, he can be prosecuted again for the consorting charge, as well as for the new offence.
A conditional warning does not amount to a conviction or a finding of guilt, and does not leave a criminal record. This means Mr Chan faces no further developments in the case if he remains crime-free for the next year.
Mr Chan, who was defended by Invictus Law counsels Josephus Tan, Cory Wong and Shane Yeo, had his murder charge withdrawn in July last year.
Five other co-accused in the case also had their murder charges dropped. Only one person, Tan Sen Yang, faces the capital charge.
Tan is also accused of having a foldable karambit knife, a small curved knife resembling a claw, on the day of the incident on Jul 2 last year.
The victim, Mr Satheesh Noel Gobidass, died of a stab wound to the neck after a brawl early that morning.
He had descended the escalator at Orchard Towers after a fight broke out and abated between the accused's group and another group of people at the entrance of Naughty Girl Club. A second fight broke out between the victim and the group of accused persons.
The victim was punched and slashed during the fight, and collapsed shortly after the attackers left.
Speaking to the media outside the State Courts after the hearing, Mr Chan thanked his lawyers and said he felt worried before the day's hearing.
Asked about having to remain crime-free for a year, Mr Chan said: "I definitely will. For the rest of my life."
His lawyer Josephus Tan said he and his team are grateful to the Attorney-General's Chambers "for coming to the right decision".
"It’s been an arduous journey for him. He is now happily looking forward to the birth of his firstborn next month instead of having to serve time in prison for this very unfortunate tragedy," Mr Tan said.
The development comes after the sole woman in the case, 24-year-old Natalie Siow Yu Zhen, was given five months' jail on lesser offences last week.
READ: Evidence, intention and involvement: AGC, lawyers explain the decisions behind reducing murder charges
READ: Woman originally charged with murder in Orchard Towers case gets 5 months' jail on downgraded offences
Co-accused Joel Tan Yun Sheng received four weeks' jail for charges similar to Siow's, while Ang Da Yuan was given eight months' jail and six strokes of the cane. The other cases are pending.