Last Thursday (12 March), a father was accused in court for aiding his stepson to assault 26-year-old Shawn Ignatius Rodrigues, a full-time national servicemen, so violently that he died from traumatic asphyxia with a head injury.
The assault was said to have happened on 9 July 2016 near a lift landing at Block 279, Yishun Street 22.
According to Today’s report, the ongoing court trial heard that the stepson, Ryan Xavier Tay Seet Choong, knew Mr Rodrigues from their time as altar boys at the Catholic Church of Our Lady Star of the Sea in Yishun in 2006. However, their friendship soured and Mr Rodrigues constantly harassed Mr Tay and his family.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Chong Kee En grilled the father, Lawrence Lim Peck Beng, about his ability to recall what he saw on 9 July 2016 when Mr Tay fought with Mr Rodrigues. DPP Chong repeatedly questioned Mr Lim about where Mr Tay was in relation to Mr Rodrigues, who was lying on the ground after being allegedly assaulted by Mr Tay.
To this, each time Mr Lim responded that he had poor eyesight and he could not recollect the specifics and was in great pain due to his leg.
“I was focused on getting to Shawn to restrain him. In helping Ryan, I was trying to restrain Shawn. As far as I am concerned, I was not focused on what Ryan was doing” said Mr Lim.
On Wednesday (11 March), the court had earlier heard Mr Tay’s testimony that he had allegedly stamped on Mr Rodrigues’ shoulder, punched his face and head multiple times, and forcefully pushed his face to the ground. He then pressed his knee on Mr Rodrigues’ back for about 20 minutes.
Responding to queries posed by defence lawyer Mr Ang Sin Teck, Mr Lim revealed to the court that he had tried several peaceful methods to prevent his family from being harassed by Mr Rodrigues though they often came to nothing.
“This peace was taken away from us when Shawn started coming to harass us multiple times in the day. Disturbing this peace. Banging on our door late at night. Not once, several times” adding that Mr Rodrigues had been in physical contact with his wife.
Mr Lim recounted in court that his family had initially tried to ignore Mr Rodrigues when he first started harassing the family. “But as time went on, it slowly escalated from text messages, to visiting our flat, to even peeping into our flat from the adjacent block,” he said.
The court was told that Mr Rodrigues had allegedly molested Mr Lim’s wife, and also allegedly strangled one of his elderly neighbours and punched another.
Mr Lim explained that police reports, mediations and visits to MP did not help
Mr Lim told the court that his family had lodged a total of 59 police reports against Mr Rodrigues. “We thought the police could help us, that is why we kept making police reports,” said Mr Lim.
However, all these proved futile as Mr Rodrigues was never called in for questioning or apprehended.
“They (the police) told us each time Shawn appears, just make a report and (they) will come. But never once was he apprehended or questioned. By the time they arrived, he had already disappeared and went into hiding,” said Mr Lim.
In a desperate attempt for help, Mr Lim and his wife had also sought out the help of their Member of Parliament (MP).
“My wife and I went to see… our Member of Parliament (MP), (but) Mr Shanmugam was not around,” he said, referring to a meet-the-people session with Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam, who is MP for Nee Soon Group Representation Constituency.
“He appointed one of his lawyers to meet us, take down our statement… As far as I know, nothing was done … (Rodrigues) kept coming back,” added Mr Lim.
Earlier at the trial on Thursday, Mr Lim read out a statement he gave to the police.
“To me, it seems that justice was not served and if something had been done, this incident may not happen.”
The trial continues.