Teen accused of killing River Valley High schoolboy to plead guilty

Case is transferred to High Court, where teen faces life imprisonment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder

A police car seen entering the River Valley High School campus on 19 July. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)
A police car seen entering the River Valley High School campus on 19 July. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — A River Valley High School (RVHS) teenager accused of killing his schoolmate in 2021 intends to plead guilty to culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

The Straits Times reported Deputy Public Prosecutor Sean Teh telling the court on Thursday (6 April) that the male teenager, now 18, is expected to plead in August.

The case has also been transferred to the High Court, which handles criminal offences committed locally that are punishable with death or an imprisonment term exceeding 10 years.

The teen cannot be named because he was 16 years old when he allegedly committed the crime, and is therefore protected under the Children and Young Persons Act.

In February, his murder charge was reduced to culpable homicide after he was assessed by doctors from the Institute of Mental Health and found to have been suffering from clinical depression, according to CNA.

A culpable homicide conviction without murder will result in life imprisonment with caning or up to 20 years in prison with a fine or caning.

Accused has been in remand

The teenager killed a 13-year-old boy inside a toilet at River Valley High School on 19 July 2021.

The accused had allegedly slashed the victim's head, neck, and body with an axe measuring 50cm by 22cm between 11.16am and 11.44am, with the intent of causing the younger boy's death.

Investigations by the police showed that the two people did not know each other.

RVHS took steps after the incident to assist students and staff who needed socio-emotional support, according to an update by the Ministry of Education in July last year. Additional counsellors were hired and mental health awareness talks were held for its students.

ST reported that since the incident, the accused has been in remand and has taken his O-Level examinations as a private candidate.

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