Singapore — In the case of a man who died in a 2016 fight with his childhood friend and the friend’s stepfather, the police released a statement on Monday (Oct 5) that there was no evidence that the victim, Mr Shawn Ignatius Rodrigues, had made threats to his friend, Ryan Xavier Tay Seet Choong, and his family, according to todayonline.com.
The police added that neither was there evidence that Mr Rodrigues assaulted Tay or his family members, nor was their property damaged by the victim.
Tay and his family had said they lodged more than 50 police reports about the behaviour of Mr Rodrigues.
The trial of Tay, 24, and his stepfather, Lawrence Lim Peck Beng, 58, began last February and ended on Monday (Oct 5). Tay was sentenced to four years and to Lim eight months in jail. Both men were convicted of voluntarily causing grievous hurt.
Both men had testified that Mr Rodrigues, 26, a full-time national serviceman (NSF) and a childhood church friend of Tay, had been harassing them for more than two years, resulting in more than 50 police reports being filed within this period. Mr Rodrigues was also alleged to have molested Tay’s mother and assaulted an elderly woman in their Yishun neighbourhood.
The police confirmed in the statement that the police reports had indeed been filed. “Most of these police reports were in the form of 999 calls whenever Rodrigues turned up outside their flat.”
However, the police added: “There was no evidence to show that Rodrigues made any threats, damaged any property or assaulted Tay or members of his family.”
The police also referred to the occasion when Tay’s mother asked for help from her Member of Parliament (MP) regarding the alleged molestation by Mr Rodrigues, when he pulled her shoulder to ask for her son’s whereabouts.
The MP for Nee Soon GRC, Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam, made representations to the police on behalf of Tay’s mother, who was later told by the police that they were looking into the incident.
Mr Shanmugam was not named in the police statement. He had not, in fact, met Tay’s mother at the Meet-the-People Session where she asked for help, although one of his lawyers took her statement.
The police said that, whenever they saw the victim in the vicinity, they told him not to harass Tay and his family. “In fact, when resources permitted, the police would remain in the neighbourhood and conduct patrols in case Rodrigues returned.”
Tay’s family, on the advice of the police, filed a Magistrate’s Complaint against the victim in January 2016 and, as a result, mediation had begun between the two parties the following month.
Mr Rodrigues also underwent psychological counselling with his private psychotherapist and had been referred to the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), where he was scheduled for a follow up with the IMH’s Adult Neurodevelopment Clinic. He died before this took place.
On July 9, 2016, the day Mr Rodrigues died, he showed up at the Tay doorstep several times and shouted for Tay. Lim asked loudly why he wanted to see his stepson but this woke up Tay. He went after Mr Rodrigues, caught hold of him at the end of the corridor near the lift lobby and pushed him to the floor. Lim came and sat on the lower part of Mr Rodrigues so that he would stop thrashing his legs violently. Tay said that, at this point, Mr Rodrigues was bleeding from the nose.
The police then arrived to take Mr Rodrigues away but later told Tay and Lim that he had died.
Both say the death was accidental. Tay said: “The issue of Shawn harassing my family has been dragging for some time. I was worried while in camp … because my mother was molested … (there was) no update from police. It seems he was free in the neighbourhood.
“I did not expect Shawn to die. I admit that I had used excessive force on Shawn when I pushed his head down. But if I did not do this, he could’ve overpowered us because he’s bigger in size … I do not know what’s wrong with him.” /TISG