Man accused of Orchard Towers murder to be tried in High Court

In a photo from July 2, 2019, police officers are seen investigating the crime scene at Orchard Towers.
In a photo from July 2, 2019, police officers are seen investigating the crime scene at Orchard Towers.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A 29-year-old man who was allegedly involved in the Orchard Towers fatal brawl in July last year will be tried in the High Court, said the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) in a statement on Tuesday (Oct 20).

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 on Tuesday, 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, Tan Hong Sheng, Natalie Siow Yu Zhen, Joel Tan Yun Sheng, Ang Da Yuan and Loo Boon Chong.

The group of seven were leaving Naughty Girl Club on the second floor of Orchard Towers at around 6.20am 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 Orchard Towers.

Closed-circuit television footage showed Mr Satheesh exchanging blows with some people before stumbling to the ground.

Bystanders later tried to help him as he  lay bleeding from the neck.

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

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

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

The others - Chan, Loo and Tan Hong Sheng - were not involved in the brawl or had tried to stop it, the AGC added.

On Oct 15, 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 he was charged with took into account Chan’s 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.

Orchard Towers’ main entrance was cordoned off for police investigations on July 2, 2019. PHOTO: ST FILE

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

The AGC said that there was no prior plan to assault Mr Satheesh, and the trio did not know that Tan would use a weapon during the fight. The entire incident also lasted for less than a minute.

“Their acts resulted in two abrasions on the deceased’s upper body, which were minor and non-fatal in nature,” the AGC added.

“There was insufficient evidence to show that they intended to cause more than simple hurt. As such, charges of voluntary causing hurt with common intention were proceeded against them.”

Joel Tan was sentenced to one month's imprisonment, while Ang was sentenced to eight months' imprisonment and six strokes of the cane.

Siow was given five months' jail in addition to the 3½ months she had earlier spent in remand.

The remaining two members of the group - Tan Hong Sheng and Loo - have not been sentenced yet.