Accused in Orchard Towers case to be tried for murder

AGC clarifies decision to reduce charges for 6 others who were initially accused of murder

Police officers at the crime scene at Orchard Towers on July 2 last year, after Mr Satheesh Noel Gobidass was attacked by a group of people leaving a club at about 6.20am. He was taken to hospital and died later that morning. ST FILE PHOTO
Police officers at the crime scene at Orchard Towers on July 2 last year, after Mr Satheesh Noel Gobidass was attacked by a group of people leaving a club at about 6.20am. He was taken to hospital and died later that morning. ST FILE PHOTO

A 29-year-old man who was allegedly involved in the fatal brawl at Orchard Towers in July last year will be tried in the High Court, said the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) in a statement yesterday.

Tan Sen Yang, who faces a murder charge, is accused of causing the death of Mr Satheesh Noel Gobidass, 31, with a karambit knife.

His case was moved to the High Court yesterday, said the AGC.

The AGC also clarified its decision to reduce the charges for the six other individuals who were involved in the incident. They were initially charged with murder.

The six are: Chan Jia Xing, 27; Tan Hong Sheng, 23; Natalie Siow Yu Zhen, 24; Joel Tan Yun Sheng, 27; Ang Da Yuan, 27; and Loo Boon Chong, 27.

The group of seven were leaving Naughty Girl Club in Orchard Towers at around 6.20am on July 2 last year when they got into a dispute with another group.

Mr Satheesh was killed after he confronted one of the seven who, along with other members of the group, attacked him.

The brawl was captured by cameras outside a shop on the first floor of the building. Closed-circuit television footage showed Mr Satheesh exchanging blows with some people before stumbling to the ground.

He was taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital and died at 7.25am.

After investigations, the AGC found that six of the individuals were not involved in causing Mr Satheesh's death. The charges against them were then reduced.

The AGC said yesterday that Tan Sen Yang, Ang, Siow and Joel Tan got into a fight with Mr Satheesh. Tan Sen Yang allegedly slashed at him with his knife several times.

Mr Chan, Loo and Tan Hong Sheng were not involved in the brawl or had tried to stop it, the AGC said.

Last Thursday, Mr Chan 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. He could return to court if he reoffends within a 12-month period.

A conditional warning does not amount to a conviction or a finding of guilt, and does not leave a criminal record, meaning he will face no further action if he does not commit any crimes for a year.

Joel Tan, Ang and Siow had earlier this year pleaded guilty to assault charges, among other things.

The AGC said their acts resulted in two abrasions on Mr Satheesh's upper body, which were minor and non-fatal in nature.

"There was insufficient evidence to show that they intended to cause more than simple hurt. As such, charges of voluntarily causing hurt with common intention were proceeded against them," the AGC said.

Joel Tan was sentenced to one month's jail. Ang was sentenced to eight months' jail and six strokes of the cane. Siow was given five months' jail in addition to the 3½ months she had earlier spent in remand. Tan Hong Sheng and Loo have not been sentenced yet.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 21, 2020, with the headline 'Accused in Orchard Towers case to be tried for murder'. Print Edition | Subscribe