SINGAPORE: A 16-year-old boy was charged Tuesday (July 20) with the murder of a fellow student at River Valley High School the day before.
The Singaporean teenager, who cannot be named because he is a minor and is protected by the Children and Young Persons Act, has been charged with murder once.
He is charged with causing the death of a 13-year-old boy in Secondary 1 between 11:16 a.m. and 11:44 a.m. on July 19 in a toilet on the fourth floor of the school at 6 Boon Lay Avenue.
The suspect, a high school student, appeared in court via a video link from pre-trial detention. He was dressed in a red shirt and had messy hair, to which he answered “yes” to certain questions to the judge.
The police prosecutor asked the court to return the accused to the Changi Medical Center for psychiatric evaluation.
“Your Honor, the preliminary investigations have revealed that the 16-year-old teen was previously seen as a patient at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH),” he said.
“In 2019, police engaged in an incident of attempted suicide involving the then 14-year-old. Following the incident, he was taken into custody for his safety and then referred to IMH for assessment. He was subsequently discharged. circumstances, we suggest he needs psychiatric evaluation.”
The boy’s lawyer, Mr Peter Keith Fernando, confirmed that this happened while his client was in secondary.
He added that the suspect’s parents had hired him to represent their son the night before. However, he said: “His parents informed me that they are not coming to court this morning.”
There was no one else in the courtroom except for bailiffs, police personnel and the media.
Police said they received a call for help at school around 11:40 a.m. on Monday. Officers found the victim motionless and with multiple wounds near a toilet on the school grounds.
He was pronounced dead at the scene and an ax was seized as evidence. Preliminary investigations revealed that the suspect and victim did not know each other, but police said they are continuing the motive for the alleged assault.
The judge ordered the accused to be held for three weeks for psychiatric observation and to appear in court on August 10.
READ: River Valley High Death: Ax seized by police; suspect and victim ‘not known from each other’
Murder carries the death penalty. However, according to Article 314 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, no death sentence can be handed down or recorded against a suspect who was under the age of 18 at the time of the offence.
Instead, he or she is sentenced to life imprisonment.
In its statement on Monday, police called on the public not to speculate about the case, out of respect for the victim’s family.
Where to get help:
Samaritans of Singapore Hotline: 1800 221 4444
Institute of Mental Health Helpline: 6389 2222
Singapore Association of Mental Health Helpline: 1800 283 7019
You will also find a list of international helplines here. If someone you know is in immediate danger, call the 24-hour emergency medical services.