SINGAPORE: One of five Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) officers charged over a ragging incident that led to the death of a full-time national serviceman (NSF) was sentenced to 12 months and four weeks in jail on Tuesday (Oct 23).
Staff Sergeant Muhammad Nur Fatwa Mahmood, 33, pleaded guilty to causing death by a rash act and abetting the obstruction of justice.
He is the first among the five men, who were charged in July, to plead guilty and to be sentenced.
Corporal Kok Yuen Chin died in May after being found unconscious at the bottom of a 12m-deep fire station pump well which was filled with water at Tuas View Fire Station.
An inquiry found that May 13, the night CPL Kok died, started off as a celebration for his impending operationally ready date (ORD) but subsequently "went tragically wrong".
The celebration, to mark the end of CPL Kok's two-year training, was an initiative by his colleagues and paid for by the servicemen themselves.
CPL Kok was pushed into the well after the celebrations as part of a ragging ritual. He did not resurface and was only pulled out of the well 36 minutes later. Despite his colleagues' attempts to save him, he could not be resuscitated.
FOUR OTHERS CHARGED
First Warrant Officer Mohamed Farid Mohd Saleh, 34, was charged with abetting a rash act causing death.
Lieutenant Chong Chee Boon Kenneth, 37, and First Senior Warrant Officer Nazhan Mohamed Nazi, 40, were both charged with abetting a rash act causing grievous hurt by illegal omission. Nazhan is expected to claim trial.
Staff Sergeant Adighazali Suhaimi, 32, was charged with intentionally obstructing the course of justice.
SCDF has said it will decommission all 19 pump wells located at fire stations, on the recommendation of the Board of Inquiry.
The decommissioning works, which involve filling up the wells with granite chips and covering them with concrete slabs, are expected to be completed by December this year, SCDF said.
The penalties for causing death by a rash act are a maximum jail term of five years and a fine, while the punishments for causing grievous hurt by a rash act are a maximum jail term of four years and a fine of up to S$10,000.
For obstructing justice, an offender can be jailed for up to seven years and fined.