2 foreigners who jumped bail - police inquiry on

The accused persons, New Zealander Robert Stephen Dahlberg (L), 34, and Briton Robert James Springall (R), 25, face charges over a brawl that took place at Suntec City two years ago.

SINGAPORE - Police are conducting an internal inquiry to "establish the full facts" on how two foreigners, allegedly involved in an assault case at Suntec City, absconded while on bail, said Mr Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs.

Speaking in Parliament yesterday, Mr Teo said: "If there were any lapses or negligence, the police will take appropriate disciplinary action against the officers involved. We expect the internal inquiry to be completed next month."

The accused persons, New Zealander Robert Stephen Dahlberg, 34, and Briton Robert James Springall, 25, face charges over a brawl that took place at Suntec City two years ago.

Another accused, the pair's Australian friend, Nathan Robert Miller, 35, has since pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three weeks' jail last month.

The trio were understood to be drunk when they abused two taxi drivers and two taxi passengers. They also hijacked and crashed a taxi.

Mr Teo said that warrants of arrest have been issued against the two men who jumped bail, and the police are working closely with their overseas counterparts and Interpol to bring the pair back to face charges.

Highlighting the Suntec case in Parliament yesterday was Ms Tin Pei Ling, Member of Parliament for Marine Parade GRC.

Raising queries over measures to prevent foreigners from fleeing jurisdiction before trial, she asked if the ministry will consider making it standard operating procedure to impound foreigners' passports.

Mr Teo said: "This case illustrates the challenges of ensuring that accused persons facing trial, whether they're Singaporeans or foreigners, do not abscond.

As they have not yet been convicted of a crime, the presumption of innocence limits how far we can limit their movements.

"And, ultimately, the discretion rests with the courts to decide whether an accused person should be allowed to leave jurisdiction."

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