The coroner’s inquiry into the death of schoolboy Benjamin Lim started yesterday (May 17). The two days of fact finding proceedings will see witnesses, including representatives from Benjamin’s school and police officers on the case, give oral testimony. The State Coroner will review all evidence and establish the cause of and circumstances related to the schoolboy’s death. The Inquiry will also allow for Benjamin’s next-of-kin to pose questions.
14-year-old Benjamin Lim fell to his death after the police interrogated him for an allegation of outrage of modesty. The student’s death caused widespread public unhappiness over police interrogation procedures of minors and school procedures in police investigations.
Both Ministers of Home Affairs and Education have replied to questions raised by Members of Parliament. The police are now reviewing its procedures for interrogating minors.
So did Benjamin molest the 11-year-old girl? That question is central to the questions of what triggered the police investigation of the schoolboy, and if they acted in a measured manner befitting the alleged crime.
The police used the CCTV footage from the lift in which the alleged molestation took place. To protect the identity of the 11-year-old girl, the footage was viewed in camera at the Inquiry yesterday.
The following are the views of the police as well as Benjamin’s parents, as reported in various new sources, on the police evidence which triggered the investigation.
“ASP Mohammad Razif said the police had obtained closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage of the alleged molest from the lift after Benjamin died on Jan 26<…>
He said it showed how Benjamin, a Secondary 3 student from North View Secondary School, had followed the girl into the lift, with the girl pressing the 14th storey button while Benjamin pressed 13.
Benjamin appeared to have dropped his phone, and as he bent down to pick it, he touched the girl’s left buttock with his right hand.
The girl was seen turning around, watching Benjamin move away while he continued looking at her.
At the 13th storey, Benjamin exited the lift and the girl also stepped out briefly.
Said ASP Razif, referring to the girl’s statement: “The girl said ‘wait, wait, wait’, following which Benjamin replied ‘what is it’. The girl then said ‘nothing’.”
Following the exchange, she re-entered the lift and exited on her level.” – The New Paper
“Counsel for the boy’s family, Mr Choo Zheng Xi, said Benjamin’s father is of the view that there was “no bodily contact” between Benjamin and the 11-year-old, just a “brush at the area of the girl’s skirt” as the boy bent down to pick up his mobile phone.
The Coroner’s Court heard in the morning that the girl felt a “soft tap” on her left buttock and when she glanced down, saw the person’s right hand moving away from her. State Counsel Wong Woon Kwong told the court the girl had immediately called her father, crying, to tell him what had happened.<…>
The teen’s mother also disputed the allegations against her son. According to the investigation report, Benjamin’s mother did not believe her son had done anything, and thought Benjamin had been “set up”. After she had picked Benjamin up from the police station, Mrs Lim asked him to be honest with her on whether he had molested the girl. The teen said he had not. Mrs Lim then told her son he should not have admitted to the allegations if they were not true, the report stated.” – TODAY
State Coroner Marvin Bay took note of the Lims’ dispute with the police report and CCTV footage, and that the police stood by their description of events that took place in the lift between Benjamin and the 11-year-old girl on Jan 25.Follow us on Social Media
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