SINGAPORE : Four SAF commandos have been found guilty of causing the death of Second Sergeant Hu En Huai. Sentencing will take place next Friday.
The 19-year-old NSman died during combat survival training on Pulau Tekong last August.
After 36 days of testimonies from 50 witnesses, January 7 was to be a day for the lawyers to make their closing submissions.
Lawyers from all sides presented their closing arguments and expected judgment to be adjourned to a later date.
But 40 minutes later, District Judge Ng Peng Hong returned from his chambers with a judgment.
The judge found the four army officers guilty of causing the death of Second Sergeant Hu by committing a rash act.
The verdict comes nearly 10 months after Second Sergeant Hu died after his head was repeatedly held under water.
This was part of the Combat Survival Training course, designed to prepare trainees for the potential treatment they might receive as a prisoner of war.
Both Lieutenant Jeff Ng Chin Fong and Lieutenant Divanandhari Chandrasekharan were among those who conducted the training course.
They were charged with causing death, by holding Mr Hu's head under water and ''digging his nose'' to prevent him from holding his breath.
Captain Pandiaraj Mayandi, supervising officer of the course, was charged with abetting Mr Hu's death, by instigating the instructors to carry out the training.
Captain Pandiaraj said he did brief instructors not to immerse trainees' heads in water more than four times, and not to exceed 20 seconds each.
Warrant officer S. Balakrishnan, who was the course commander, was charged with abetting the instructors, by not stopping them from immersing Mr Hu's head in the water.
The four accused officers were each also charged with causing grievous hurt to Captain Ho Wan Huo who underwent the same training.
Mr Ho almost drowned and suffered respiratory distress syndrome after the alleged acts were committed on August 21 at Pulau Tekong.
On each charge, the men can be jailed for up to two years and fined.
Sentencing has been scheduled for January 14. - CNA