CAN: Special safe guards needed for criminal cases involving minors

CAN: Special safe guards needed for criminal cases involving minors

Singapore based NGO, Community Action Network (CAN) has issued a statement to voice its concern over  the death of 14-year-old, Benjamin Lim who died of “unnatural causes” on Tuesday late afternoon after being interviewed by the police without the accompaniment of his parents.
Below is their statement in full

Community Action Network (CAN) would like to highlight the fact that as a signatory to the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC), Singapore should amend the Child and Young Persons Act (CYPA) to reflect the country’s ratification of the CRC, especially where the defined age of the child is concerned.
It is also clear that we need to implement special safe guards in place for criminal cases involving minors to ensure that those who find themselves assisting with the police in an investigation as a suspect, do not feel intimidated under any circumstances which may lead to trauma.
CAN is of the opinion that the tragic incident involving Benjamin Lim Jun Hui, a 14-year-old who died of “unnatural causes” on Tuesday, could have been prevented had everyone involved in the investigation of this case showed sensitivity towards the fact that they were investigating a minor.
Last but not least, we find it absurd that while public spaces are heavily surveilled with security cameras, interrogation rooms are not fitted with any cameras to allow for transparency of the interrogation process, which may be useful in an incident like this.

Endorsees: Shelley Thio, Roy Ngerng, Jennifer Teo, Woon Tien Wei, Rachel Zeng, Lynn Lee, and Jolovan Wham from Community Action Network together with individual endorsees, Vincent Law and Jevon Ng

The Community Action Network is a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) based in Singapore concerned about freedom of expression, and civil and political rights.
Background of the case – The secondary three student  was taken to the police station for investigation by five plainclothes police officers from his school on Tuesday morning and was interviewed for over 3 hours. Benjamin had been alleged to have molested an 11-year-old girl on Monday afternoon which he denies. Shortly after returning home with his mother and sister from the police station, he locked himself in his room and jumped out the window. (read more)

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