Friday, January 8, 2010

Blue on Blue: Part 16a

The Straits Times
Jan 8, 2010

Prime News Page A11
Senior SAF officer faces court martial
The alleged offence is believed to involve a female subordinate

By Jermyn Chow
A HIGH-RANKING army officer has been brought before a tribunal for alleged misconduct under military law.

His alleged offence is believed to involve a female subordinate, although the exact nature of what happened is unknown for now.

Lieutenant-Colonel Frederick Teo Li-Wei, 33, a deputy director in the Defence Ministry's defence policy office, appeared before a subordinate military court at the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Court Martial Centre in Choa Chu Kang Way yesterday.

No charges were read out at the hearing. His lawyers asked for the court martial to be adjourned for three weeks to give them time to make legal representations to the military prosecutor.

The Straits Times understands that the defence team will use the time to discuss the charges with the prosecution.

The Defence Ministry declined to comment on the case or the legal proceedings.

Three senior SAF officers presided over yesterday's proceedings.

The panel was headed by Colonel Soh Cheow Guan, the commanding officer of the Republic of Singapore Navy 188 Squadron.

Lt-Col Teo appeared stoic while in the dock. The infantry-trained officer was wearing his No. 3 army uniform - olive green trousers and a paler olive green short-sleeved shirt.

The former Hwa Chong Junior College student was part of a four-man team which represented Singapore in the World Schools Debating Championships in 1995. He then snagged an SAF scholarship and studied in Oxford University.

He is the highest-ranking SAF officer to be brought before a military court for offences related to dealings with female subordinates since 2000.

At that time, Colonel Low Wye Mun, then the Army's Chief Medical Officer, admitted making sexual advances towards a married female subordinate.

For his offence, he was demoted to the rank of major and lost more than $325,000 in retirement benefits.

Under the SAF Act, anyone found guilty of cruel, indecent or disgraceful conduct can be jailed up to two years.


Anonymous said...

Any insider comment from General Booeyman?

Anonymous said...

Frankly, I used to be confused why is MINDEF taking up an issue with this at all. Nowadays I am just disappointed.

90Cents Newspaper
Your 90cents newspaper FAILED to clarify this MAJOR POINT - Was there any crime comitted? Or is it just that this officer is punished for potentially bringing the organisation into disrepute.

Many would think that the Court Martial is for punishing the culprits for crimes committed. Therefore, I think that the 90cents newspaper should have pointed out that MINDEF, like many armies in the world, has its unique brand of justice - in fine print. Apparently, anything that may smear MINDEF's reputation is a crime in their books.

The articles simply raises more questions that are left unanswered.

MINDEF Public Affairs
The newspaper article links this to Colonel Low's case in 2000. Back then, there was talk that the case was settled in the Court Martial because the police did not find anything criminal. I do not know how true this was but perhaps MINDEF should clarify in this case if Lieutenant Colonel Fredrick has commited any crime under the penal code or if it is just an internal matter. At the very least, the charge given to the defence to prepare their case could be revealed so that we can know if we should eagerly await the next installment or just poo-poo the whole thing and skip to serious news.

Personally, I do not reasonably think that there is any country in the world which has a law where it says "Thou shall not be involved with a female subordinate".

If there is, then I think that STPB is right and that we are truly "Uniquely Singapore". Ha ha!

Wayne said...

Country don't have laws on that but militaries around the world certainly have rules against fraternising.