The family of 14-year-old Benjamin Lim are raising funds to launch a lawsuit against two government bodies to seek justice for his death.
Lim reportedly committed suicide on 26 Jan 2016 after returning home from the police station where he was investigated for deliberately touching an 11-year-old girl in a lift. The boy was subsequently arrested when he allegedly admitted to the offence and released on bail on the same day.
An hour after his release, the boy fell to his death after his mother received a call from his school that he would not be permitted to attend a school camp he had been planning to go to.
While a coroner’s inquiry in August last year concluded that there were no evidence of anything that was not in accordance with police or school processes, the case raised questions over how minors are questioned by police.
Lim’s family now seek to take legal action against the government since they feel that what happened to their son could well happen to any other boy or family and they wish to ensure that “other Singaporean children are better protected.” They told reporters:
“Our son Benjamin was 14 years old when he died, today he would be 16. Every birthday, every CNY, every family gathering we grieve his absence which is accompanied by a prescient fact that this could happen again today to another set of parents; another family could feel the tragic loss of their child due to our authorities choosing not to learn from Benjamin’s death, and use the lessons learned to progress their systems and protect vulnerable children of Singapore.”
The family added that they wish to ensure that their son’s death was not in vain, but declined to answer what exactly they are suing the authorities for or what outcome – such as cash compensation or policy changes – they are expecting in taking legal action. The only said:
“We feel as parents that the circumstances of the death of our son were not adequately handled or settled by the authorities involved. The outcome we received in no way protects the children of Singapore and we hope that legal action can create the changes needed to protect all our young people in the future.”
Noting that they are “not a wealthy family” but have spent “thousands” of dollars in getting the campaign to the stage it is in now, the family is hoping to gain public support for the legal case which is apparently likely to cost about S$200,000, according to their lawyers:
“Litigation in Singapore is very expensive but has the potential to bring about real change for our future generations.”
The family mounted a Give.asia campaign to raise funds, with the help of social activist Terry Xu. However, Give.asia has since taken down the campaign “with no reasons given,” according to Xu.
The family is now hoping to raise funds via direct bank transfers.