SINGAPORE — A man and his stepfather were on Monday (24 August) convicted over the death of a victim who died from traumatic asphyxia with head injury after he was found trussed up with raffia string in 2016.
Ryan Xavier Tay Seet Choong, 24, and his stepfather Lawrence Lim Peck Beng, 58, were respectively found guilty of causing grievous hurt and abetment to cause grievous hurt to Shawn Ignatius Rodrigues, 26.
In finding the duo guilty of their respective charges after a trial, District Tan Jen Tse said, “The attack on Shawn was savage and prolonged.”
The judge will hear arguments on an appropriate sentence from the prosecution and defence lawyers at a later date.
Victim harassed perpetrator multiple times
Tay and Rodrigues knew each other from their days as altar boys with the Church of Our Lady Star of the Sea.
Rodrigues eventually developed a liking for Tay and began harassing him. He would follow Tay on his way to school and visit his family in Yishun up to a few times a day.
The harassment resulted in 59 police reports lodged by Tay’s family and culminated in Rodrigues being referred to the Centre for Psychotherapy for counselling sessions by the community court.
Rodrigues was later referred to the Institute of Mental Health, where a psychiatrist found symptoms suggestive of Asperger’s syndrome and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. However, the counselling sessions and a protection order taken out by Tay’s family did nothing to stop Rodrigues.
Unable to deal with the harassment, the family reacted in violence on several occasions. For example, after Rodrigues knocked on the family’s door non-stop for a minute in early 2016, Lim sprayed insecticide on Rodrigues’ face.
Harassed family five times the day he died
Things came to a head on 9 July 2016 after Rodrigues harassed the family at their Yishun flat five times that day starting from 8.45am, when Rodrigues banged on the door and shouted for Tay.
At 7.40pm, Rodrigues again called for Tay. But he fled when Lim opened the gate. Tay gave chase, resulting in a scuffle between himself and Rodrigues near the lift lobby and staircase landing. Both men fell down the staircase with Rodrigues landing on top of Tay.
Tay then rolled Rodrigues over, locked him in a prone position and punched his head at least three times. He also stomped on his shoulder twice and placed his knee on Rodrigues’ back to prevent him from getting up. Lim helped Tay by grabbing and locking Rodrigues’ feet.
Tay also turned Rodrigues’ face to the side when he saw him bleeding from the nose so that the victim would not drown in his own blood.
Neighbours later helped Tay and Lim to bind Rodrigues at the ankles and hands and call for the police.
Tay and Lim then went back to their unit. They only learnt that Rodrigues had died when a policeman visited their flat. Tay was then arrested.
At their trial, Tay and Lim said their sole intention was to detain Rodrigues and hand him over to the police.
But District Judge Tan said the evidence clearly showed that the victim’s life was endangered by their use of excessive force.
The maximum punishment for causing grievous hurt is up to 10 years’ jail along with a fine and caning. Only male offenders below 50 can be caned.
Stay in the know on-the-go: Join Yahoo Singapore's Telegram channel at http://t.me/YahooSingapore