Parents of River Valley High murder suspect allowed to call son; initially rejected

SINGAPORE — The 16-year-old River Valley High School student accused of murdering his 13-year-old schoolmate was allowed to speak to his parents via video call on Friday (13 August) morning, after he was earlier denied the call by a State Courts judge.

An Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) spokesperson said in lines issued to the media on Friday that the police arranged for a video call between the Singapore teenager and his parents. The call occurred earlier on Friday, AGC added.

Yahoo News Singapore earlier reported that the court had rejected the request made by the parents of the accused teen to communicate with him through a brief video session during a court appearance earlier this week.

Speaking to Yahoo News Singapore, the teen's lawyer Diana Ngiam said, "Mental health issues are paramount and we are grateful for (the Criminal Investigation Department's Special Investigation Section's) facilitation of this critical visit."

Judge said it was not time yet

The request was made by the teen's lawyers Sunil Sudheesan and Ngiam on Tuesday. The lawyers said their clients had requested for a five-minute video session with their son, during which they would only check on the boy's well-being and not discuss the case. Both parents were present in court.

District Judge Brenda Tan rejected the parents' request, saying it is not time yet for them to speak to him and that they can make such arrangements later when appropriate.

DJ Tan had also approved the prosecution's request for a two-week extension of the boy's remand in the Complex Medical Centre and Institute of Mental Health (IMH) for completion of psychiatric and forensics assessment.

The prosecution had also objected to the request for a call, arguing that while they understood the parents' concern, the case involves a capital charge and investigations were yet to be completed. The prosecution added that they would likely ask for the boy to be further remanded for investigation after his psychiatric assessment was completed.

The Secondary 4 student is accused of causing the death of the Secondary 1 victim at a toilet on Level 4 of Block D of River Valley High School at 6 Boon Lay Avenue, between 11.16am and 11.44am on 19 July.

The penalty for murder is death. Under the Criminal Procedure Code, offenders below 18 will be sentenced to life imprisonment if found guilty.

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