Prison officer fined $10,000 after pleading guilty to causing inmate's death by negligence

Lim is said to "failed to exercise adequate supervision" in the restraint of the inmate Dinesh Raman. Dinesh Raman's death is said to be caused by positional asphyxia.

SINGAPORE - Lim Kwo Yin, 36, who holds the rank of deputy superintendent with the Singapore Prison Service, pleaded guilty on Friday to causing the death of an inmate by negligence and was sentenced to $10,000 fine.

Prison officer charged with causing inmate's death by negligence

By Jalelah Abu Baker

SINGAPORE - Senior prison officer Lim Kwo Yin, 36, has been charged with causing the death of an inmate by a negligent act not amounting to culpable homicide.

Statement by the Ministry of Home Affairs:

We offer our condolences to the family of Dinesh Raman s/o Chinnaiah on their loss.

On September 27, 2010, Dinesh Raman, a prison inmate, carried out an unprovoked attack on a prison officer outside his cell in the presence of other inmates. Prison officers responded to restrain him and to place him in a cell. He was left in a prone position in the cell.

Shortly after, due to his unresponsiveness, he was evacuated to hospital where he was pronounced dead. The cause of death was determined to be positional asphyxiation, i.e. the deceased was being placed in a prone position on the ground where he died due to breathing difficulties.

The Criminal Investigation Department conducted an investigation into the incident and referred its findings to the Attorney-General's Chambers. AGC has charged the officer supervising the incident with Causing Death by a Negligent Act.

Separately, the Ministry of Home Affairs appointed an independent Committee of Inquiry to look into the circumstances surrounding the death, and to recommend improvements to existing systems, protocols and processes. The Committee submitted its report to the Ministry in June 2013.

The Ministry of Home Affairs accepts the findings and recommendations of the Committee and has directed the Singapore Prison Service to implement them.

We hold our officers to a high standard of professionalism. The Singapore Prison Service requires its officers to strictly abide by procedures and protocols, in particular when dealing with prisoners who are violent. The Ministry of Home Affairs will work with the Singapore Prison Service to determine whether other officers involved in this incident have met the required performance standards, and whether disciplinary proceedings should be taken against any of them.

Ministry of Home Affairs

19 July 2013

Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs, Mr Masagos Zulkifli's response:

"Let me first express my condolences to the family of Dinesh on their loss.

"I have been briefed on this case. The death of Dinesh is regrettable and an officer has been sentenced in court for being negligent in his role in the incident.

"Having worked with prison officers for many years on rehabilitation issues, I have come to learn and appreciate the challenging environment prison officers work in. Despite this, they have set out for themselves the noble goal to help inmates rehabilitate while in prisons and to reintegrate properly into society when they are released. This is definitely not an outcome to a case they would like to see.

"Prison officers work round the clock to secure a complex environment that houses criminals of diverse backgrounds. Discipline is vital to ensure order and the safe custody of all inmates and safety of the officers. The prison environment is a unique one. Tension and aggression between inmates and towards officers must be handled promptly and properly to prevent any escalation. Our officers are well trained to handle various situations.

"Nonetheless, I remain confident of the dedication and professionalism of our prison officers. I encourage our officers to stay focused and true to their mission."