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2 SCDF officers get 10 weeks' jail each over ragging death

2 SCDF officers get 10 weeks' jail each over ragging death

Source: Straits Times
Article Date: 16 Sep 2020
Author: Shaffiq Alkhatib

Strong stance needed to ensure safety of servicemen remains paramount, says judge.

Two Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) officers were each sentenced to 10 weeks' jail yesterday over their involvement in a 2018 ragging incident that led to the death of a full-time national serviceman (NSF).

Following a trial, Nazhan Mohamed Nazi, 42, was found guilty last month of acting negligently by failing to prevent his subordinates from carrying out the ragging activity on the night of May 13, 2018.

Nazhan was the deputy commander of Tuas View Fire Station at the time. His colleague, Kenneth Chong Chee Boon, 40, who was the commander, had pleaded guilty to a similar offence in July.

The pair were the last two to be dealt with in court after the incident. Before sentencing them yesterday, Senior District Judge Ong Hian Sun said that they had been "grossly negligent" and that death was the worst outcome that could happen. The judge added that a strong stance must be taken to ensure that the safety of servicemen remains paramount.

Some of the pair's subordinates had pressured the NSF, Corporal Kok Yuen Chin, 22, to enter a 12m-deep pump well at the fire station that evening to mark the impending completion of his national service.

He drowned after another one of his colleagues, Muhammad Nur Fatwa Mahmood, 34, pushed him in. Three SCDF regulars, including Nur Fatwa, had earlier been convicted and sentenced over their involvement in the incident.

Nur Fatwa was sentenced to a year and four weeks' jail in October 2018 after he admitted to the fatal push.

Nazhan and Chong were originally charged with intentionally aiding a group of SCDF servicemen to cause grievous hurt to Cpl Kok via a rash act endangering human life.

Those convicted of this offence can be jailed for up to four years and fined up to $10,000.

But after an earlier trial, Judge Ong reduced their charges to the current one - that of performing a negligent act by failing to prevent their subordinates from carrying out the ragging activity on May 13, 2018. Those convicted of this offence can be jailed for up to three months and fined up to $1,500.

Chong began serving his sentence yesterday. Meanwhile, Nazhan's defence lawyer, Mr Singa Retnam, told the court his client intends to appeal against his conviction and sentence. His bail was then set at $15,000.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Kumaresan Gohulabalan told the court the prosecution will be appealing against the earlier order to amend the charge.

Source: Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Permission required for reproduction.

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