Tuesday, 27 Oct 2020

Yishun death: Prosecution seeks 5 years' jail, 8 strokes of the cane for attacker, a year's jail for his stepfather

SINGAPORE – The prosecution has urged a district court to sentence the main attacker in a fatal 2016 Yishun assault case to five years’ jail and eight strokes of the cane.

On Monday (Oct 5), Deputy Public Prosecutor Jason Chua stressed that Ryan Xavier Tay Seet Choong, now 24, had decided to take the law into his own hands and the offence led to Mr Shawn Ignatius Rodriguez’s death.

The DPP added that the case involved vigilante justice and Mr Rodriguez, 26, was later found with more than 30 external injuries on his body.

He also told District Judge Tan Jen Tse that the attack was carried out by two people – Tay and Lawrence Lim Peck Beng, now 59.

DPP Chua asked for a year’s jail for Lim and said that as Tay’s stepfather, he should have known better than to abet the assault.

Tay’s lawyer, Mr Peter Low, however, urged the court to call for a report to assess his client’s suitability for a probation, adding that Tay was a young offender.

Mr Low also said that Tay had been “frustrated”, as his family made more than 50 police reports against Mr Rodriguez before the tragedy but “nothing happened”.

Lim is represented by lawyer Ang Sin Teck, who also pleaded for a lighter sentence for his client.

Mr Ang told Judge Tan that Mr Rodriguez, who visited his client’s home multiple times before his death, had made “life a living hell” for Lim, Tay and their family.

On Aug 24 after a trial, Judge Tan found Tay guilty of voluntarily causing grievous hurt to Mr Rodriguez. Lim was found guilty of abetting his stepson in committing the offence.

The pair had decided to take matters into their own hands after Mr Rodriguez repeatedly visited their flat, and continued doing so even after the family lodged 56 police reports against him.

Things took a tragic turn on July 9, 2016, when Tay assaulted Mr Rodriguez, who was then doing his national service with the Republic of Singapore Air Force, and Mr Rodriguez later died of traumatic asphyxia with a head injury.

DPPs Chua, Wong Kok Weng, and Chong Kee En had earlier stated in their submissions that Mr Rodriguez and Tay knew each other in 2006 when they were altar boys at the Church of Our Lady Star of the Sea in Yishun.

Tay, however, left eight years later, as he felt that Mr Rodriguez was “fixated” with him.

Mr Rodriguez then tried to contact Tay by making frequent phone calls, and started loitering around the void deck of the latter’s home at Block 279 Yishun Street 22.

The prosecutors had said that in January 2016, Tay’s mother, Madam Irene Ng, filed a magistrate’s complaint against Mr Rodriguez that led to mediation proceedings in the State Courts.

A mediation judge then told Mr Rodriguez to stop visiting Tay. Despite this, he continued visiting the Yishun flat and went to the block on July 9 that year.

The prosecutors had earlier said: “At about 7.40pm, the deceased returned. Lawrence opened the door and shouted at the deceased for about five minutes and opened the gate intending to physically engage him.

“At this juncture, Ryan came out of the unit and the deceased started to run away. Ryan chased the deceased down the corridor and up the staircase at lift landing B.”

A scuffle broke out between the two men and Tay later used his right knee to press against Mr Rodriguez’s back even though the latter did not struggle.

Lim then sat on Mr Rodriguez’s buttocks and performed a leg lock by crossing the latter’s lower legs.

The court heard that a few neighbours later brought items including a rope and raffia string.

One of them, Mr Lim Hock Piou, tied Mr Rodriguez’s ankles while Lim held on to Mr Rodriguez’s legs. Tay, meanwhile, continued to press his knee against his back.

The police arrived at the scene before Mr Lim Hock Piou could complete tying Mr Rodriguez’s legs.

A Singapore Civil Defence Force paramedic pronounced him dead at around 8.30pm.

The case has been adjourned to Monday afternoon.

For voluntarily causing grievous hurt, an offender be jailed for up to 10 years and fined or caned. Lim cannot be caned as he is over 50 years old.

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