Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Captain Tan Baoshu, who was charged in October 2018 with causing the death of Corporal First Class (CFC) Dave Lee, a full-time national serviceman (NSF), with a rash act, has recently been given a discharge. His grant of a discharge, however, is not an acquittal.
According to a recent report by straitstimes.com, as per an ACG representative, Captain Tan has been diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. “On the application of the prosecution, the Court has granted Captain Tan a discharge not amounting to an acquittal of the charge against him under Section 304A(a) of the Penal Code,” she said. The order by District Judge Lim Tse Haw, was made on January 8 of this year.
On April 18, 2018, CFC Lee, who was only 19 years old, was brought to Changi General Hospital after suffering from heat stroke. After completing an 8km fast march, which was supervised by Captain Tan, CFC Lee collapsed. He died on April 30, roughly two weeks after he was brought to the hospital.
According to Channel News Asia, Captain Tan, who was the supervising officer in charge of the march, was accused of “failing to evacuate him in a timely manner” and “not allowing the necessary treatment to be administered to CFC Lee, causing the latter’s death from heat stroke.”
In August 2018, about two months before Captain Tan’s conviction, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen presented the conditions and events that transpired before CFC Lee died. Based on investigations conducted by a committee of inquiry (COI), it was found that the measures taken to cool CFC Lee after he collapsed were insufficient. Furthrmore, he was not brought to the hospital fast enough, as a delay was caused when those attending to him initially thought that the symptoms he was experiencing were mainly due to physical exhaustion as opposed to heat stroke.
Were it not for the discharge he was recently granted, Captain Tan could have been sentenced to prison for up to five years and fined if he were convicted of committing a rash act. According to Section 232 of the Criminal Procedure Code,”the public prosecutor may, if he thinks fit, inform the court that he will not further prosecute the accused upon the charge, and the proceedings on the charge against the accused must then be stayed and he shall be discharged from and of the same”.
Though it has been close to two years since her son’s death, the mother of the late CFC Lee, has recently expressed her sympathies, saying “I’m truly sad for him,” about Captain Tan in an interview with Today Online. “It’s not easy for (his family). For Baoshu, I choose to forgive.”
Despite the wound of her son’s death still being very fresh, Mrs. Jasmine Lee visited the man previously charged with playing a crucial part in the unnecessary death of her son in the hospital. She disclosed that Captain Tan was not doing well, but out of respect for him and his family, she did not go into detail about his condition.
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