SINGAPORE, Aug 13 — A Secondary 4 student of River Valley High School has been allowed to speak with his parents for the first time since he was charged with the murder of his schoolmate.
The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) said in a statement today that the police had arranged the video call between the 16-year-old teenager and his parents earlier in the day.
The call was arranged for the teen and his family after a District Judge denied an application from his lawyer for such a call on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, the boy’s lawyer, Sunil Sudheesan of law firm Quahe Woo & Palmer, made an application in court for the suspect’s parents and family members to have a “brief five-minute video session with their son” to check on his well-being.
In response, District Judge Brenda Tan said that this was not an appropriate time for them to talk to their son.
Sudheesan told TODAY today after the video call that this was the first time the parents have gotten a chance to speak with their son since he was charged.
He said he and his partner, Diana Ngiam, were not present at the call, and they were unsure how long it took. Nevertheless, he said they were grateful to the police for facilitating it as “mental health issues are paramount”.
The Singaporean teen was charged with the murder of his 13-year-old schoolmate on July 20, a day after the alleged killing took place.
He will return to court on Aug 24.
Neither the accused nor his alleged victim can be named, as the law forbids the publication of identities of young persons under 18 who are involved in court proceedings.
Court documents stated that the alleged murder took place on July 19 between 11.16am and 11.45am at a toilet on the fourth level of the school.
No details were given on how the boy died but the police said that they had seized an axe.
Initial investigations suggested that the suspect had bought the axe online and that the two students did not know each other.
In the week following the incident, Education Minister Chan Chun Sing gave an account of what happened that day, saying that a group of students saw the suspect outside a toilet towards the end of lunch break at about 11.35am.
He was holding an axe and asked them to call the police.
The students returned to their classroom and told their teacher about this immediately.
The 16-year-old later made the same request to another group of students in the classroom next to the toilet.
A teacher who arrived at the scene instructed him to put down the axe. He complied and was escorted to a meeting room, after which other teachers called the police and checked the toilet.
The younger boy was found motionless with “many wounds” and was pronounced dead there, Chan said.
The court previously heard that the suspect is a former patient at IMH, and that the police had attended to a case of attempted suicide by him in 2019.
The following are resources if you or someone you know is seeking help for mental health-related issues.
Samaritans of Singapore (24-hour hotline): 1800-221-4444
Community Health Assessment Team: 6493 6500/01 or click on the webchat icon at chat.mentalhealth.sg
Singapore Association for Mental Health helpline: 1800-283-7019