Benjamin Lim case: Facts & Falsehoods

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Jan 25, 2016

– 11-year-old girl molested in lift by boy in school uniform
– Boy was later identified as Benjamin Lim

  • CCTV footage
    • Benjamin detoured from normal route to follow girl
    • Girl entered lift, Benjamin quickly followed
    • Incident took place in lift, captured on CCTV
    • Benjamin got off at 13th floor
    • Took stairs to 12th floor
    • Took lift to ground floor

Investigation: How it was done

– Police went to school in plain clothes and unmarked cars
– Benjamin interviewed by one officer in principal’s office in presence of principal and other educators
– Benjamin interviewed by one officer in police station
– Interview conducted in open plan office, with officer at his workstation. Others were at their workstations
– Mother gave statement to Police
– Benjamin released in about 3.5 hours, went home with mother

Investigation involving young persons

– 2011 to 2015: 7,196 young persons (7-15 years-old) investigated
– 70 per cent warned, placed on Guidance programme or no further action taken
– 15 per cent charged in court
– 15 per cent under consideration

Aim: Priority is to rehabilitate, not criminalise

What would have happened if Benjamin had not taken his life

Police approach to young offenders

– Police try to avoid criminalising the conduct, where possible
– Better to give a second chance, help in rehabilitation

Charges brought against young offenders when:

– Offence is very serious
– Repeat offender

Likely Benjamin would receive no more than a warning

– Taking into account his age
– Also a first-time offence

Tolerant approach is not a licence for young persons to commit crimes

Falsehoods

FALSE: Police not in plainclothes when they went out to identify Benjamin
TRUTH: Police officers were in plain clothes, without any police markings

FALSE: 5 officers interviewed Benjamin and intimidated him, coerced into admission
TRUTH: One officer spoke to him in school, with principal and educators The other police officers were not present Interviewed by one officer at police station

FALSE: Benjamin was not offered food and drink
TRUTH: Benjamin declined the offer of food and drink

FALSE: The girl may not have been molested and made a false report
TRUTH: CCTV footage captured incident

Smear campaign by TOC

The Online Citizen tried to undermine public trust in the police

Published no less than 20 articles as part of smear campaign

Narrative conveyed by TOC articles:

– Police lied about going to school in plain clothes – FALSE
– Police intimidated the boy – FALSE
– Police put pressure on him to confess – FALSE

They want public to think Benjamin was innocent and committed suicide purely because of police actions

Misinformation not only untrue but wholly improper because of upcoming coroner’s inquiry

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Wednesday, March 2, 2016 – 09:39
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