April 14, 2007
Why that advice to lodge magistrate's complaint
MS KONG Lai Meng's letter ('Punched and hit but police won't be taking action'; ST, April 4) led to Mr Dennis Tan's response ('When is an offence seizable?'; ST, April 6) and an article, 'Punched? Cops may not nab the culprit' (The Sunday Times, April 8).
Police would like to reiterate that when a call about an assault is received, our officers would proceed to the scene to gather evidence or speak to any witnesses present.
Police would advise any injured person to seek medical treatment from a licensed medical practitioner. If the alleged perpetrator was still at the scene, police would ascertain his identity.
If police assess that the offence disclosed is a seizable offence, such as voluntarily causing grievous hurt or where a weapon was used, the suspect would be arrested under Section 325 or 324 of the Penal Code.
On the other hand, Section 323 cases can range from a parent disciplining his child by slapping him to family disputes between adults, leading to a fight. Most family-related cases are resolved amicably without police intervention and the parties often do not necessarily want to seek redress through the legal system.
When an offence under Section 323 is disclosed and police assess that the case is of significant public concern, the investigating officer would apply for an order to investigate on behalf of the victim, especially the young, infirm, elderly or disabled.
The current process of advising members of the public to lodge a magistrate's complaint for non-seizable cases allows the magistrate to decide on the veracity of the complaint. This discourages indiscriminate use of process for mischievous or malicious complaints, which would otherwise result in harassment of the defendant, wasting public time and resources.
Regarding Ms Kong's case, police officers arrived at the scene 20 minutes after her first call. Ms Kong and the 68-year-old man were interviewed to establish the initial facts. She was then conveyed to hospital where she was given outpatient treatment.
Police will submit the final investigation report to the magistrate after receiving Ms Kong's medical report. The magistrate will inform her of the outcome.
Audrey Ang (Ms)
Singapore Police Force
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