Sinagpore — A Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) warrant officer who was convicted of the May 2018 death of a full-time national serviceman received his sentence on Wednesday, November 20. First Warrant Officer Mohamed Farid Mohd Saleh will be serving a 13-month jail sentence.
Mr Farid was found guilty of goading Staff Sergeant Muhammad Nur Fatwa Mahmood into pushing full-time national serviceman (NSF) Kok Yuen Chin into a 12-meter deep well at the Tuas Fire Station, which caused Mr Kok’s death by drowning.
This is known as committing a rash act not amounting to culpable homicide.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Kumaresan Gohulabalan, who led the prosecution in the case, said that Mr Farid had shown a “high degree of rashness”, Channel NewsAsia (CNA) reports. The prosecution also said that it showed Mr Farid’s failure as a supervisor in the service.
In the mitigation for his sentence, Vinit Chhabra, the lawyer for Mr Farid, said that ragging activities were common in the SCDF and that he could not control how quickly Mr Fatwa pushed Mr Kok.
He added that Mr Farid had been with the SCDF for 11 years and had served with excellence and that what happened with Mr Kok was “by no means representative… of the manner he would have conducted himself.”
According to District Judge Victor Yeo, Mr Farid’s sentence should reflect “deterrence and retribution” as well as “send a message that such rash and risk-taking behaviour must not be tolerated”.
Among other points, the judge said that Mr Farid was the most senior officer during the incident and he failed to carry out his duty to stop the ragging. And Mr Farid had not even pleaded guilty, unlike Mr Fatwa.
It had been part of Mr Fatwa’s statement that he had pushed Corporal Kok into the well because Mr Farid told him to do so.
However, Mr Farid refuted this over and over in the course of his trial.
Messrs Farid and Fatwa have both been suspended without pay starting four days from Corporal Kok’s drowning, which occurred on May 13, 2018, three days before his National Service was supposed to end.
According to Mr Fatwa, Mr Farid said, “Wa, tolak dia” to him, and he pushed Corporal Kok in. The two men had an argument about this when interviewed by the police and when the two men were spoken to by the fire station commander, Major Huang Weikang, after the incident occurred, Mr Fatwa said he felt betrayed by Mr Farid.
Five officers of the SCDF have been charged concerning the death of Corporal Kok. Mr Fatwa was charged with one count of causing death by a rash act and one count of abetting the obstruction of justice. Mr Farid was charged with abetting a rash act causing death.
Staff Sergeant Adighazali Suhaimi was charged with intentionally obstructing the course of justice. First Senior Warrant Officer Nazhan Mohamed Nazi and Lieutenant Chong Chee Boon were charged with abetting a rash act causing grievous hurt by illegal omission. -/TISG