'Coroner not wrong to halt inquiry into inmate's death'

'Coroner not wrong to halt inquiry into inmate's death'

The state coroner did not act "illegally, improperly or irrationally" in deciding to discontinue an inquiry into a prison inmate's death, a High Court judge has concluded.

Justice Tay Yong Kwang explained why he dismissed an application for a judicial review into the coroner's ruling, sought by the inmate's mother, Madam Selvi Narayanasamy, 45.

She disputes the official account of circumstances surrounding her son's death.

Dinesh Raman Chinnaiah, 21, died of breathing problems after being placed chest down and left in an isolation cell following an unprovoked attack in Changi Prison on Sept 27, 2010. He had been restrained by eight officers.

She still plans to take her case to the Court of Appeal.

Justice Tay said that Madam Selvi, represented by lawyers M. Ravi and Eugene Thuraisingam, failed to make a strong case as to why this account should be scrutinised.

It was placed before a court in July when senior prison officer Lim Kwo Yin, 36, admitted causing Dinesh's death by negligence and was fined $10,000.

The coroner later met the state counsel and the family's then-lawyer in chambers and decided to halt the inquiry. No contention was raised.

The Attorney-General's Chambers said the state coroner exercised his discretion, as provided for by law, because the cause of and circumstances connected to Dinesh's death were already before the court.

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