Benjamin Lim case: He wasn't a suicide risk
State Counsel: Hours before his death, Benjamin appeared calm and only appeared to show signs of distress during a phone call to his mother
The teenager was found dead at the foot of his block on Jan 26, the day he was investigated for allegedly molesting an 11-year-old girl.
The death of 14-year-old Benjamin Lim, who fell from his bedroom window after returning from the police station, has raised questions about how young people are treated during criminal investigations, and when schools should release their students to the custody of the police.
Yesterday, final submissions were made in the coroner's inquiry into the boy's death.
Here are the main points highlighted in court:
NO SUICIDAL SIGNS
There was nothing to suggest that Benjamin was a suicide risk, said State Counsel Wong Woon Kwong in his closing submissions yesterday.
Mr Wong also said that further evidence obtained from a psychiatrist from the Institute of Mental Health's Child Guidance Clinic did not show that Benjamin had any psychiatric or mental conditions.
While he was diagnosed with having a childhood emotional disorder when he was seven, his counselling history in primary school showed that his issues had been resolved by the time he was in Primary 5, he added.
Hours before his death, Benjamin appeared calm - from the time he was picked up by police officers at his school to the time he left Ang Mo Kio Police Division, where he had given his statement.
The only time he appeared to show signs of distress was during a phone call to his mother, said Mr Wong.
CIRCUMSTANCES AROUND THE SCHOOL CAMP
The two-day hearing in May saw State Coroner Marvin Bay highlighting discrepancies in the evidence, such as who had made the decision to pull Benjamin from a school camp that he was supposed to attend.
Yesterday, Mr Wong said that North View Secondary School counsellor Karry Lung had suggested to Benjamin's mother that he should not go to the camp.
This was because of the ongoing investigations and it would allow Benjamin to receive support from his family at home.
However, Benjamin's mother, who cannot be named due to a gag order, said she was informed that the school had decided that Benjamin would not go to the camp.
Mr Wong said it was likely that Benjamin's mother could have interpreted the message as a decision made by the school before informing her son that he was not allowed to go for the camp.
THE ALLEGED MOLEST
Lawyer Choo Zheng Xi, who represents Benjamin's family, argued that the inquiry was not meant to be a posthumous criminal trial of whether the teenager had molested the girl, and questioned whether details about the alleged offence were relevant to the inquiry.
But Mr Wong said that it set the context as to why Benjamin was being investigated.
He added that the 11-year-old girl had turned up crying at the police station when she made the police report.
Benjamin also admitted to touching the girl's rear thigh - which was supported by closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage - in his statement.
However, he later denied to his family that he had done it.
Mr Wong said: "This denial to his mother and sister provides some glimpse of how the deceased may have harboured concerns about the perceptions of those closest to him.
"What the available evidence shows is that the deceased did not have any known psychiatric or mental issues at the material time, and that a multitude of factors can influence suicidal behaviour."
Coroner Bay is expected to deliver his findings on Aug 18.
SEPARATING FACT FROM FALSEHOODS
Numerous falsehoods were circulated by third parties, said State Counsel Wong Woon Kwong. Here are some of them:
Uniformed police went to the school
Six witnesses testified - and closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage shows - that the officers went there in plain clothes.
Benjamin was intimidated by five officers during the interview
Only one officer, Inspector Poh Wee Teck, interviewed Benjamin in the presence of school staff, according to CCTV footage.
His phone call to his mother was interrupted by officers
School principal Chen Fook Pang and Insp Poh testified that Benjamin ended the call himself.
He was interrogated for more than three hours
The interview and statement-taking lasted an hour and 45 minutes, said Senior Investigation Officer (SIO) Mohammad Fareed Rahmat. Benjamin was interviewed in an open-plan office and left the police station in under four hours.
He was not given anything to eat or drink
Sergeant Mohamed Sulaiman Jumari testified that he had offered food, water, toiletries and medical treatment to Benjamin, who declined the offer.
A neighbour made the police report against him
An 11-year-old girl, accompanied by her father, filed the report at Yishun North Neighbourhood Police Centre.
Samaritans of Singapore
Singapore Association for Mental Health
Care Corner Mandarin Counselling Centre
Mental Health Helpline