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The Straits Times
February 28, 2023
A father who allegedly strangled his 11-year-old twin sons in a canal in Upper Bukit Timah had his murder charges reduced to that of culpable homicide on Tuesday.
Xavier Yap Jung Houn, 49, was given two amended charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
According to court documents, he allegedly strangled the boys with the intention of causing death.
He was earlier charged with murdering Aston Yap Kai Shern and Ethan Yap E Chern on Jan 21, 2022, between around 4.25pm and 6.20pm in the covered canal at Greenridge Crescent playground.
The prosecution said the charges were amended following the release of a report by the Institute of Mental Health. Xavier Yap was found to have major depressive disorder of moderate severity.
Yap is represented by Mr Patrick Nai, Mr Choo Si Sen and Ms Choo Yean Lin from Tan Lee & Partners, and Mr Muhammad Razeen Sayed Majunoon from Advance Law.
He appeared in court via video link in a white shirt and kept his head down during proceedings.
In an earlier statement, the police said Xavier Yap had called them from the playground for help at 6.25pm on Jan 21.
Aston and Ethan were found lying motionless in the nearby canal, and pronounced dead at the scene by a paramedic.
The twins are believed to have had special needs and attended a school in the Eng Kong estate area.
The case will be mentioned again on April 18.
Those convicted of committing culpable homicide not amounting to murder, in which there was intention of causing death, can face life imprisonment and be caned, or jailed for up to 20 years and fined or caned.
Correction note: An earlier version of the story stated that the incident took place in January 2021. It should be January 2022. We are sorry for the error.