Jail for ex-cop who forged witness statements, lied to court, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Jail for ex-cop who forged witness statements, lied to court

After his superior discovered that he had recorded two identical statements from witnesses in separate cases, a police officer was found to have forged 38 statements in 21 case files.

While under probe, Willjude Vimalraj Raymond Suras resigned from the Singapore Police Force in April 2019 and applied to become a lawyer.

In his application to the Singapore Bar, he lied in an affidavit to the High Court dated Dec 22, 2020, that he was not under any pending criminal investigation or proceedings in Singapore.

Willjude, 33, was sentenced to 25 months’ jail on June 20 after he pleaded guilty to 10 charges, including nine for forgery.

The last charge he admitted to was for intentionally giving false evidence in a judicial proceeding.

A total of 29 other forgery charges were taken into consideration during Willjude’s sentencing.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Grace Chua said that Willjude held the rank of inspector, and as an investigating officer, his duties included recording statements from witnesses for criminal and coroner’s cases and recommending the appropriate course of action to his supervisor.

The prosecutor said Willjude’s supervisor noticed that Willjude rarely followed up outstanding investigations and often did not file away completed matters.

“She spoke to the accused on several occasions about his poor performance but did not see any progress,” DPP Chua added.

Despite meeting Willjude in December 2018 and setting deadlines for his outstanding cases, the supervisor observed that he still submitted his cases late and with inadequate investigations.

On Jan 26, 2019, the supervisor reviewed two of Willjude’s case files and found it strange that identical statements were recorded from two witnesses for two unrelated cases.

Suspecting that the statements may have been forged, she called the witnesses to check if Willjude had recorded statements from them and was told that he did not.

Upon questioning, Willjude admitted to forging the witness statements.

His supervisor then ordered him to surrender all his case files, and following a review, he admitted to forging 38 statements. These cases included criminal and coroner’s matters that had been concluded, and criminal investigations that did not end in prosecution.

For one case that he had been assigned to on Nov 30, 2018, he had to record statements from three witnesses. But Willjude wanted to complete investigations and submit the case file quickly, said DPP Chua.

So for one witness whose handwritten statement was taken at Woodlands Checkpoint, he added fictitious portions while recording the statement and was careful not to read those portions back to her.

He did not interview another of the witnesses at all, and instead aligned the facts in her account with that of the first witness.

DPP Chua said the affected cases had to be reinvestigated where necessary and fresh statements were recorded from witnesses. It was found that all case outcomes were not affected by the forgeries. 

Willjude was assessed by a senior consultant at the Institute of Mental Health on two occasions and was found to have had adjustment disorder, a psychological condition that occurs when an individual has difficulty coping with stressors or major life changes, among other conditions.

The doctor found that there was a contributory link between his mental condition and his forgery offences, but not for lying in the bar application.

DPP Chua asked the court to sentence Willjude to 30 months’ jail.

She said extensive efforts were spent to identify and reinvestigate affected cases, and that Willjude was persistent in his dishonesty.

“The accused’s dishonesty undermines public confidence in the integrity of the investigative and legal processes,” she added.

Willjude’s lawyer, Mr Azri Imran Tan, asked the court for a sentence of 12 to 17 months’ jail. Mr Tan added that Willjude had immediately ceased practising as a lawyer when Mr Tan advised him that he should not be doing so.

Mr Tan said Willjude had suffered workplace abuse by his superior during his stint in the police force, in addition to various personal issues. He said there was no intention to cast aspersions against the police or place blame on the superior for her actions, but the conditions he found himself in had affected his motives for committing the forgeries.

DPP Chua said that while necessary mitigating weight was given to Willjude’s reaction to his work environment, everyone faces stresses at work and that it cannot justify his actions.

She also said that due mitigating weight had been given to his mental condition in the sentence she sought.

For each count of forgery, Willjude could have been jailed for up to four years and fined.

He could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined for intentionally giving false evidence in a judicial proceeding.

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