Death of NS man: army camp erred, says coroner

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By Trinity Chua and Nicole Chang

A coroner scrutinised the treatment of a schizophrenic serviceman at an army camp after the 22-year-old national serviceman was found dead, and discovered that officers were wanting in a number of areas.

There was no register of servicemen with psychiatric illness at the Khatib camp, despite a Mindef medical directive.

The officer in charge of the late recruit could have found out about the medical condition of Ganesh Pillay, but she did not.

The officer, Captain Jessie Goh, did not make any connection with Ganesh’s inability to perform daily chores in the military and his psychiatric condition.

She was “out of depth” in dealing with the recruit, State Coroner said on the final day of an inquiry into the death of Ganesh.

On the missing medical register, he said: “This was a classic case of non-compliance of Mindef as this is actually required by the medical directive.”

Ganesh was found dead at the bottom of his block of flats on July 5 2013.

Before that he was given “14 extras” punishment for his tardiness on July 4 2013.

The Coroner added that the punishment “may not be the only cause” of Ganesh’s death but does not believe it has nothing to do with his demise.

He said Ganesh’s death was “a deliberate falling” and he died from multiple injuries, which are consistent with death from a height.

As the inquest closed, Ganesh’s father, R. Magindren said: “I do not want to sue Mindef, but I have to sue them to get justice?”

His lawyer added: “SAF should look into the breaches of directives so that there will not be another case like this one.”