The Financial Times (FT) report on the death of American engineer Shane Todd may suffer a loss of trust too if the Singapore Police Force (SPF)'s challenge stands up to scrutiny. At stake is the London-based newspaper's accounting of the latest version of Todd's last actions alive: "Mr Todd, 6ft tall and nearly 200 pounds in weight, fashioned a noose from a computer bag strap, hung it over his bathroom door, closed and locked the door. He put the noose around his neck, stood on a chair and jumped off."
The version allegedly told earlier by SPF to Todd's parents: "police said their son had drilled holes in the bathroom wall, affixed bolts, wrapped the strap through a pulley and over the door." The key difference between the two stories is that no Rube Goldberg configuration of drilled holes and pulley system was evident at the site of the crime scene when inspected by the parents.
The SPF is miffed because FT made no attempts to confirm with them whether the police gave different versions of the story. But it stopped short of presenting it's version of Todd's demise. An official autopsy report submitted by the SPF had ruled the death to be “asphyxia by hanging”. The fine distinction is that self induced asphyxiation is suicide, asphyxiation by a third party would be tantamount to murder.
The SPF is entrusting the coroner's enquiry starting today to establish the final story. There are no provisions for an appeal. If the decision is controversial, a serious lack of trust will be imputed on the system.
Meanwhile, there's no rush to post an anti-suicide pledge on your Facebook account. Kishore Mahbubani is saying that any objective investigation will show that the Singapore police is at least as competent, if not more competent, than the FBI. The same fella who said that poverty has been eradicated in Singapore.