An officer from the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) who has been accused in the death of full-time national serviceman (NSF) Dave Lee has been given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal. This is done after he was diagnosed with cancer.
A spokesperson from the Attorney-General Chamber (AGC) told The Straits Times that the accused, Captain Tan Baoshu, has stage 4 cancer and the prosecution applied for a discharge last week.
“On the application of the prosecution, the Court has granted Capt Tan a discharge not amounting to an acquittal of the charge against him under Section 304(a) of the Penal Code,” she said.
The district judge granted the application on 8 January. This mean that the charge brought against CPT Tan was dropped but can be revived on a later date, if new evidence appears.
He was also suspended from service until the outcome of the court proceedings end.
31-year-old CPT Tan was in trial to the charge of causing Corporal Fist Class Lee’s death by a rash act. The dates for his trial had initially been reserved to next week.
Death of CFC Lee
On 30 April 2018, Corporal First Class (CFC) Lee succumbed to heat injuries sustained after an 8km fast march at the Bedok Camp on 18 April. He spent more than a week in intensive care at Changi General Hospital before passing away.
Court documents revealed that CPT Tan was CFC Lee’s commanding officer in the 1st Guards Battalion.
CPT Tan had allegedly supervised the fast march on April 18th but failed to evacuate CFC Lee in a timely manner after noticing heat injuries in his subordinate.
CPT Tan also allegedly did not allow the administration of “necessary treatment” to CPF Lee between 8.25am and 9.10am on that day, which led to his death from heat stroke, court documents heard.
After an SAF medic personnel attempted to reduce CPF Lee’s core temperature, he was rushed to Bedok Camp’s medical centre where an SAF medical team went on with body cooling measures and treatment.
He was later brought to the Changi General Hospital and placed in intensive care for more than a week, before he succumbed to his injuries.
A committee of Inquiry (COI) was convened to look into this training death.
Their preliminary assessment found that CFC Lee was already accumulated fatigue and insufficient rest in the days leading up to the fast march on 18th April.
This in combination with the inadequate on-site measures after the march were the reason why he succumbed to heat injuries.
The COI did also note that they did not find any evidence of foul play or systemic lapses.
If convicted of causing CFC Lee’s death by performing a rash act, CPT Tan could have been jailed for up to five years and fined.