Coroner's inquiry into Benjamin Lim's death: Differing accounts from school and family

A view of North View Secondary School, where 14-year-old Benjamin Lim had been picked up by police officers.
A view of North View Secondary School, where 14-year-old Benjamin Lim had been picked up by police officers.ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

SINGAPORE - A coroner's inquiry has revealed differences in some accounts of what happened on the day 14-year-old Benjamin Lim died.

At about 4.13pm on Jan 26, Benjamin's mother was mopping the floor at home when she received a call from North View Secondary School's counsellor Karry Lung, said State Counsel Wong Woon Kwong on Tuesday (May 17).

Madam Lung said she had told Benjamin's mother that it would be good for his family to keep him company instead of having him attend the school's Secondary 3 camp on Jan 27.

 
 
 

This was the school's suggestion, "particularly given how the camp would not be that comfortable and (he) might not eat or sleep well".

In Madam Lung's account, Benjamin's mother agreed with the suggestion. After the call, the counsellor sent an e-mail to school principal Mr Chen Fook Pang at 4.28pm.

But this was not what Benjamin's mother recalled of their exchange.

Her version is that the counsellor had told her the school had decided not to let Benjamin attend the school camp.

Instead, they wanted him to stay at home and do e-learning.

Both parties disagreed on another issue - whether or not there was discussion about the school camp when Benjamin's mother and elder sister rushed to the school on Jan 26.

They did so after learning that he was going to assist police with investigations, and Ms Lung brought them to the library.

This was revealed when investigation officer Mohamed Razif took the stand on Tuesday.

According to Madam Lung, she told the pair that Benjamin was assisting with police investigations and was likely to feel tired after the process.

She then tried to change the subject when the both of them continued to ask about the investigations, and brought up the school camp.

They were later joined by the discipline mistress Steff Chan Su Qin, whose statement also said they spoke about the camp.

But the boy's mother and sister said they had no recollection of such a discussion at the time.