On Tuesday, the family of the Benjamin Lim, the 14-year-old who was found dead on the late afternoon after he was questioned by the police, their legal representatives and other representatives of the government ministries viewed the CCTV showing the inside of the lift where Benjamin is alleged to have tap at the back of a 11-year-old girl.
Earlier that day, Investigating Officer (IO) Assistant Superintendent (ASP) Mohamed Razif, testified that it was shown through the CCTV recording inside the lift that Benjamin followed the girl into the lift on the afternoon of 25 January. On the way up, Benjamin moved closer to the girl in the lift and dropped his phone. As he picked it up, the girl said that she felt a tap on her left buttock and saw Benjamin’s hand moving away from her. The girl was scared and did not say anything. Although she tried to confront Benjamin before he left the lift, she eventually did not as she was afraid. After getting back home, she cried and called her father, who rushed back home to file a police report on the matter.
However, after viewing the video in private with media outside of the chambers. Mr Lim, father of Benjamin disputed the account in the investigation report by the IO through the family’s counsel, Mr Choo Zheng Xi.
Choo noted that Benjamin’s father is of the view that when Benjamin bent down to pick up his mobile phone in the lift, his hand brushed at the area of the girl’s skirt and that there had been “no bodily contact” between Benjamin and the 11-year-old.
He also noted that Mr Lim had taken issue with the fact that the same video viewed by different parties had resulted in two differing interpretations, with the police stating in the investigation report that Benjamin had clearly “touched the lower back portion of the girl”.
State Coroner Marvin Bay noted Mr Lim’s dispute with the investigation report and what was shown in the CCTV footage.
State Counsel, Wong Woon Kwong stood and pointed out that the IO stands by his description of events that took place in the lift between Benjamin and the 11-year-old girl. This was noted by the State Coroner as well.
Although the family is of the view that the video should be aired in open hearing where members of the public can view the video as well, the court decided that the video should be viewed in private as to protect the identity of the 11-year-old girl. It is noted that there has been a gag order issued on Tuesday to protect the identity of Benjamin’s family members as well as the girl.
Earlier in March this year, Minister of Home Affairs and Law, Mr K Shanmugan spoke in Parliament in regards to the death of Benjamin. He said,
“But is that the right thing to do? To have a public trial by media, at this stage; rebut the family in public and add to the family’s grief? The answer, in good sense, is clearly no. We can understand that the family, in their grief, may genuinely believe some things, and perhaps even assert them in public. But we chose not to respond. These matters can be dealt with at the Coroner’s Inquiry. And even at this stage, I have decided that we should not release the CCTV footages of what happened in the lift, out of respect for Benjamin’s memory and to help the young girl as well.”