Claims of preferential treatment for suspects 'baseless': Dr Faishal
6 of 7 suspects in Orchard Towers murder case were not involved in causing murder, says Dr Faishal
Recent allegations of suspects in the Orchard Towers murder case getting preferential treatment because of their race are "totally baseless and highly irresponsible", said Minister of State for Home Affairs Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim.
He stressed in Parliament yesterday that everyone in Singapore is treated fairly and equally by the law.
Dr Faishal's remarks come two days after the police said it will investigate two women, aged 28 and 36, for contempt of court over social media posts they made alleging preferential treatment based on the race of suspects involved in the death of Mr Satheesh Noel Gobidass on July 2 last year.
Mr Satheesh, 31, died after being embroiled in a brawl at Orchard Towers. Seven people were involved in the incident, but after investigations, the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) found that six of them were not involved in causing Mr Satheesh's death, leading to the charges against them being reduced.
One of the six, Mr Chan Jia Xing, was given a 12-month conditional warning after his charge was reduced to consorting with a person carrying an offensive weapon in a public place.
The AGC said the crime Mr Chan was charged with took into account his involvement, how he tried to stop the attack and his cooperation with police investigations.
The seventh person, Tan Sen Yang, is the only one now facing a murder charge.
Setting out the process for handling capital offences such as murder and kidnapping, Dr Faishal told the House that where there are multiple suspects allegedly involved in the same capital case, the same holding charge may be made against all of them initially in court.
The accused persons will be held in remand while further investigations are conducted, and law enforcement agencies will make recommendations to the AGC. Prosecutors will then review the evidence and circumstances of the case, and consider the specific role of each suspect before deciding on an appropriate course of action.
"This can be to proceed with the capital charge, apply a lesser charge or charges, or to withdraw the charge," said Dr Faishal in response to Mr Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim (Chua Chu Kang GRC).
He told the House that the eventual position against each accused person may thus differ, as it will be based on the evidence available and their role in the case.
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