Death of prison inmate: Family wants coroner's inquiry to be re-opened

The mother (left) of the deceased Dinesh Raman Chinnaiah leaves the Subordinate Courts on July 19, 2013. The family of the inmate who died in prison in 2010 have written through their lawyer to the Attorney-General Chambers (AGC), seeking for th
The mother (left) of the deceased Dinesh Raman Chinnaiah leaves the Subordinate Courts on July 19, 2013. The family of the inmate who died in prison in 2010 have written through their lawyer to the Attorney-General Chambers (AGC), seeking for the Coroner's Inquiry to be re-opened - and completed within seven days. -- ST FILE PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

The family of the inmate who died in prison in 2010 have written through their lawyer to the Attorney-General Chambers (AGC), seeking for the Coroner's Inquiry to be re-opened - and completed within seven days.

Dinesh Raman Chinnaiah, 21, died from breathing difficulties after he was placed chest down on the ground in an isolation cell. Senior prison officer Lim Kwo Yin, who was the direct supervising officer, was fined $10,000 after he pleaded guilty in July to causing Dinesh's death by a negligent act.

"Given the gravity of the circumstances of Dinesh's death, his family seeks that the Coroner's Inquiry be re-opened," lawyer M. Ravi said in a statement to the media. "It is in the interest of transparency and justice that, public and independent inquiry into Dinesh's death be allowed to run its full course. His family deserves nothing less."

A spokesman from the AGC, responding to queries from The Straits Times, confirmed they have received Mr Ravi's letter and said it "will study the contents carefully before replying".

In Parliament on Monday, Second Minister for Home Affairs S. Iswaran said the government accepts responsibility for the death of a prison inmate in 2010 and will compensate his family.

The AGC in July said that the coroner is required to hold an inquiry into any death that occurs in official custody, but if criminal proceedings have already shown the cause of death and circumstances surrounding it, he can bring the inquiry to an end.