2 ex-commanders charged over death

SINGAPORE - Criminal charges have been slapped on two former army commanders following the death of a full-time national serviceman (NSF) during a training exercise last year.

They are Lee Kong Kean, 32, and Tan Cavin, 21, who were in charge when Third Sergeant Tan Mou Sheng, 20, died in a jeep accident in the Marsiling training area.

Tan Cavin was driving the jeep on May 11 when it overturned, pinning 3rd Sgt Tan under it.

An independent Committee of Inquiry found last November that the NSF who died was not wearing a seat belt nor a helmet.

On Friday, both men, who were ground commanders in the military's Combat Intelligence School at the time of the accident, had a total of five charges slapped on them in a subordinate court.

One charge against Lee, a master sergeant who was the officer conducting the exercise, accuses him of perverting the course of justice by asking five instructors, including Tan Cavin, to lie to investigators that the NSF had stolen the jeep he was driving.

The 32-year-old career soldier also faces two charges of abetting Tan Cavin to drive the jeep, even though he knew he was not trained to do so and did not have a military licence.

If found guilty of abetment, Lee can be jailed up to five years and/or fined.

If convicted of perverting the course of justice, Lee can be jailed up to seven years and/or fined.

Tan Cavin, who was then an instructor, is accused of committing a rash act by driving the jeep without a licence. He is also charged with hurting two other instructors in the jeep with his rash act: 3rd Sgt Hong Dickson and 3rd Sgt Ow Yong Wei Long.

Now an undergraduate at a local university, he could be jailed up to five years and/or fined if found guilty.

Both men, who are on bail, are claiming trial. Tan's lawyer is Mr Laurence Goh Eng Yau while Lee's is Mr Subhas Anandan.

Last November, the Committee of Inquiry found that individual negligence and safety breaches had contributed to 3rd Sgt Tan's death.

Military investigators also uncovered more cases of unlicensed driving at the intelligence school.

As a result, five high-ranking officers, including its commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Vincent Lam Fei Liong, were moved out and given assignments not involving the supervision or training of servicemen.

The two accused men will appear in court again on Oct 28.


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