Singapore

Funeral director's culpable homicide charge reduced to that of helping ex-boyfriend to commit suicide

SINGAPORE - A funeral director accused of culpable homicide not amounting to murder after her former boyfriend was found dead now faces a reduced charge of intentionally helping him to commit suicide.

On Tuesday (Oct 26), Alverna Cher Sheue Pin, now 39, was offered bail of $100,000 and her pre-trial conference will be held on Nov 30.

The director and shareholder of City Funeral Singapore had been held in remand after she was charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder in December last year.

Cher, who appeared in court via video-link on Tuesday, is said to have helped Mr Wee Jun Xiang, 32, take his own life by nitrogen gas inhalation at a multi-storey carpark at Block 145A, Bedok Reservoir Road on May 16 last year.

Court documents do not disclose why he took his own life.

If convicted, the Singaporean single mother of two daughters can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined.

Offenders convicted of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, on the other hand, can face life in prison with caning. They can also be jailed up to 20 years and fined or caned.

Caning, if ordered by the court, applies only to men below 50.

Mr Wee's body was found in the carpark at about 5.30pm on May 16 last year.

In an earlier statement, police said Cher became a suspect during investigations and was later arrested.

On Tuesday, she was also charged with one count of intentionally obstructing the course of justice by acts such as lying to a police officer.

She allegedly claimed earlier that Mr Wee had told her that he experienced chest discomfort for two weeks before he died.

Cher is also said to have stated that she believed he died of a heart attack.

On a blogging site, she had earlier said that she was divorced from the father of her first child, and that the father of the other daughter was sentenced to jail shortly after she was born.

In the blog post, which was published four days before Mr Wee's body was found, she said she inherited a funeral business and debts from her younger daughter's father.

Cher is represented by lawyers Josephus Tan, Cory Wong and Josiah Zee from Invictus Law.

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