The inquiry into the premature death of this 14 year old boy is all about how or what led to his death. It is not about whether he did or did not molest the 11 year old girl. When State Counsel Wong Woon Kwong posted the question to the judge, ‘Ultimately, the finding as to whether there was (a) touch is for Your Honour to decide upon your review of the objective evidence’, the State Coroner Marvin Bay replied, ‘This is (an) inquiry into the death of Benjamin. It is not a criminal trial.’ With that reply the question of whether Benjamin did touch the girl or touched her skirt was left unanswered.
According to the Investigating Officer ASP Mohamed Razif, ‘…he (Benjamin) used his right hand to touch her….The girl felt a soft tap on her left buttock…’ According to Benjamin’s father, after viewing the same footage, ‘From what I observed, I saw (Benjamin’s hand) brush at the area of the girl’s skirt. But it appeared to me that there was no bodily contact.’ Different parties watching a short video footage and came out with different interpretations. Is this a case of seeing what one wants to see? Would there be a neutral party, an expert witness to tell the truth? So difficult to tell whether touching the skirt or touching the buttock in a video footage? It must be either touched or no touch right? Can view it in slow motion right?
I am disturbed by the report that said ‘A serious offence involving the outrage of modesty of a very young girl’ was reported. And the police took this case so seriously after viewing the video footage and 5 police officers were sent to the school to bring the boy in. Even Shanmugam said, after viewing the same footage, that at most Benjamin would get a reprimand. Nothing so serious as an outrage of modesty.
I contend that young boys and girls would behave like young adolescents, sometimes trying to get friendly, to want to know the other party but did not know how best to go about it and fumbled along. Outrage of modesty in this case is, in my view, you can disagree, going a bit too far.
A proper investigation is needed to clear the air for Benjamin and his family. Did he or did he not touch the girl’s buttock or skirt? But this is not in the agenda of this inquiry on how and what causes Benjamin’s death. Many young and hot blooded kids may fall to temptations of the opposite sex and went one step too far in their youthful innocence and ignorance. But outrage of modesty is seldom in their minds.
I hope I did not in anyway affect the minds of anyone in the inquiry and some jokers start to wave the sub judice flag at me. I just commented on what was reported in the media yesterday. Today’s report is even more interesting. Today’s report comes closer to link the causes of Benjamin’s death and I shall not touch on it. I can only say that I am astounded by what is being reported in the media, so eerily kind, good and proper to the point of perfection. Oh, must add the word sensitive.