SINGAPORE- A Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) first warrant officer has become the third person to be convicted in a ragging case that led to the death of full-time national serviceman Corporal Kok Yuen Chin, 22.
Second Principal District Judge Victor Yeo on Thursday (Oct 31) found Mohamed Farid Mohd Saleh, 36, guilty of instigating Muhammad Nur Fatwa Mahmood, 34, a staff sergeant, to commit a rash act not amounting to culpable homicide by telling him to push Cpl Kok into a 12m-deep pump well at the Tuas View Fire Station on May 13 last year. He drowned after Nur Fatwa pushed him in.
Two men involved in the case had earlier pleaded guilty to their offences.
Two others - Kenneth Chong Chee Boon, a 38-year-old lieutenant, and Nazhan Mohamed Nazi, 40, a first senior warrant officer - have claimed trial and their cases are still pending.
Earlier on the day of the incident, most of the officers on duty at the fire station had gathered in the control room for a cake-cutting ceremony to celebrate Cpl Kok's impending completion of national service.
Some officers then lifted Cpl Kok and carried him to the pump well across the yard.
Nur Fatwa had earlier testified during the trial that Farid told him to push Cpl Kok into the pump well.
On Thursday, Judge Yeo said: "I do find Fatwa to be a credible witness (and his) testimony contained a ring of truth."
The judge noted that when station commander Huang Weikang found out about the incident, Nur Fatwa "readily admitted" that he had pushed Cpl Kok and that Farid had told him to do so.
Judge Yeo also noted that Farid, who was nearby at the time, did not say anything in response.
The judge highlighted that Farid and Nur Fatwa had been good friends, and added: "There is no reason for Fatwa to falsely implicate Farid."
The court heard that Farid's defence was one of "pure denial" - that he did not tell Nur Fatwa to push their subordinate.
The defence had also earlier stated that no one else had heard Farid telling Nur Fatwa to push Cpl Kok.
On Thursday, Judge Yeo said this did not mean that Nur Fatwa was not telling the truth .
He added that with the "rowdiness" that was taking place in the area at the time, it was "not unexpected" that no one else heard Farid talking to Nur Fatwa in a voice that was "between whispering and a normal talking tone".
The judge said: "The defence sought to establish that Fatwa did not want to face the charge alone, or to shoulder the responsibility of what had happened.
"Whilst there may be some merit to this argument, upon careful consideration and further reflection I did not think that Fatwa would go to the extent to fabricate the allegation against his good friend and colleague."
Farid, who is represented by lawyer Vinit Chhabra, is now out on bail of $15,000. His mitigation and sentencing will take place on Nov 20.
For abetting a rash act not amounting to culpable homicide, he can be jailed for up to five years and fined.