Rivervale Crescent Child Assault: Why Wasn’t the Attacker Arrested? Here’s Our Take.

Featured image for the "Rivervale Crescent Child Assault: Why Wasn't the Attacker Arrested? Here's Our Take." article. It features a screenshot of CCTV footage of the alleged offender and victim.

An incident of a man assaulting a 5-year-old child at Rivervale Crescent this Monday has gone viral online.

According to the child’s mother on Facebook, her child had been in a mini-mart with the family’s domestic helper when the man slapped and kicked her child for apparently no reason.

The family later came across the man again and informed the police of his whereabouts. However, the policemen who arrived at the scene did not arrest the man, saying that they were waiting for instructions from the investigating officer.

This left the child’s mother very frustrated, calling the police “useless” and “lame”.

If a person has been positively ID’d as the perpetrator, then why won’t policemen arrest him if he is standing right in front of them?

The police has released a statement on Facebook to say that:

“… Based on the preliminary details and statements of the parties concerned, the case was classified as Voluntarily Causing Hurt, under section 323 of the Penal Code, Chapter 224, which is a non-arrestable offence.”

What is a Non-Arrestable Offence?

If an offence is “non-arrestable”, this doesn’t mean that the police cannot arrest the alleged offender at all. It just means that it needs a warrant before it can do so.

If the police does not have a warrant, it cannot arrest the alleged offender.

Warrants are issued by the court. If the police has investigated the commission of an alleged criminal offence and decided not to pursue the case further (including arresting the alleged offender), the victim(s) may consider filing a Magistrate’s Complaint.

The Magistrate will look into the matter and, in the process, decide whether to issue a warrant for the alleged offender’s arrest.

It is only when the arrest warrant has been issued can the police then proceed to make the arrest.

You can read more about arrestable and non-arrestable offences here.

Your Child’s Safety and Well-Being Should be Top Priority

If someone has assaulted your child, your first priority should be to ensure your child’s safety.

If you need resort to force to remove your child from danger, take note that any harm you inflict on the attacker cannot be more than what is necessary for the purpose of defending your child.

The law grants individuals this right to “private defence” if they need to defend themselves – or others – from harm. However, you can rely on this right only if you don’t have time to seek the authorities’ protection against further harm.

You can read more about the right to private defence here.

If the right to private defence does not apply in your case, or if you have exceeded the scope of the right, you may find yourself on the wrong side of the law.

That’s exactly what happened to a 47-year-old man last year, who spent 2 weeks in jail for slapping a boy who had bullied his daughter in school.

So once your child is safe from further danger, tend to him or her and call the police.

If the police decline to take follow-up action against the attacker, you may consider filing a Magistrate’s Complaint.

But all in all, help your child overcome this traumatic experience, so he or she isn’t permanently scarred by one unfortunate encounter.

Image: Vivien Chan/Facebook

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