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Provisions preventing court from questioning findings of appointed psychiatrist in MTO suitability, an intrusion and violation of judicial power, argued M Ravi

The High Court on Friday (20 Aug) reserved its judgment once again on an appeal by Mr Koh Rong Gui who is seeking a Mandatory Treatment Order (MTO) for 4 charges in relation to taking videos which insulted the modesty of women between November 2016 and April 2017

At the heart of the dispute was whether certain provisions in the Criminal Procedure Code that prevents the court from reviewing or questioning the findings of the MTO psychiatrist in determining whether an MTO should be imposed on an offender, is an impermissible violation of the court’s powers under the Constitution.

The trial judge found Mr Koh guilty of the four charges in July 2019 and declined to call for an MTO suitability report, sentencing him to 12 weeks’ imprisonment.

On appeal, Mr Koh, who was represented by lawyer Mr M Ravi, confirmed that he was no longer pursuing his appeal against the conviction and he would be only asking for the sentence of 12 weeks’ imprisonment to be replaced with an MTO.

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Mr Koh also applied, and was allowed to introduce psychiatric reports by Dr Munidasa Winslow and Dr Ken Ung Eng Khean as fresh evidence on appeal in order to persuade the court to impose an MTO.

The Prosecution then had argued that an MTO suitability report should not be called as a previous IMH psychiatrist had already stated that there was no connection between Mr Koh’s psychiatric conditions and his offences.

In February 2021, Justice Aedit Abdullah called for an MTO suitability report on Mr Koh. On the same day, the medical reports of Dr Winslow and Dr Ung were sent to the Institute of Mental Health for the purposes of preparing the MTO suitability report.

In April 2021, the MTO psychiatrist issued her report stating that although Mr Koh suffered from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Hoarding Disorder, which are susceptible to treatment, and that Mr Koh was suitable for treatment, but that “there was no contributory factor between his psychiatric conditions and the commission of the offences”. However, the appointed psychiatrist did not state that the medical reports of Dr Winslow and/or Dr Ung had been taken into consideration in her report.

Mr Ravi then submitted that certain provisions in the Criminal Procedure Code, which effectively prevents the court from questioning the findings of the appointed psychiatrist in the MTO suitability, is an intrusion and violation of the judicial power under the Singapore Constitution and should be declared void.

In this regard, Mr Ravi had referred to Parlimentary debates on the Criminal Justice Reform Bill 2018 where Member of Parliament (Bukit Batok) Mr Murali Pillai had raised his concerns about the “incongruity” in the courts being “constrained by the sole professional judgement of the [MTO] psychiatrist” on whether an MTO should be imposed on accused persons.

The same provisions were also said to be a violation of the right to equality and equal protection of the law under the Constitution as the MTO psychiatrist’s report, being non-questionable by accused persons, is treated in a different manner from other medical expert evidence in the context of defence to any criminal charge or as a mitigating factor during sentencing, is treated in a different manner and could not be questioned by accused persons.

He also argued that the MTO psychiatrist’s report had not complied with the mandatory legal requirement that before any MTO suitability report was prepared, the MTO psychiatrist must take into consideration any report prepared by “psychiatrists engaged by the offender”, which in this case refers to the medical reports of Dr Winslow and Dr Ung.

In response to Justice Abdullah’s queries on the MTO’s psychiatrist non-compliance with the mandatory legal requirement at the hearing, Deputy Public Prosecutor Lee Zu Zhao had argued that the matter could be referred back to the MTO psychiatrist who could then clarify whether she maintains the same position after taking into consideration the reports of Dr Winslow and Dr Ung.

Mr Ravi disagreed with the Prosecution’s position, arguing that this approach engages principles of natural justice and it would lead to an “apprehension of bias”.

 

* Editorial by The Online Citizen.

 

 

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READER COMMENTS BELOW

7 Responses to “Provisions preventing court from questioning findings of appointed psychiatrist in MTO suitability, an intrusion and violation of judicial power, argued M Ravi”

  • Out of Court:

    There are many events that are out of bounds to the courts.

    Think of those minister edicts.
    Think of ISA detentions.

    But it is very surprising that even a pych. dr. edict is also out of bounds to the courts.

    What else is beyond the courts?

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  • #08-193 Vanessa Wan KKJ:

    Oh women.

    If you are straight and interested in them, you are a hum sup buaya crocodile lecher and pervert.

    If the man is gay, they will make a face and go eeee.

    Basically women don’t like sex. That’s why.

    Everything must be on their terms. Marriage is a slave contract. The guy spends his whole life working for the wife. In nicer terms, providing for the wife.

    A lot of women want to marry rich men. They get to spend lots of money without having to work for it. It’s okay to be mistresses and whores to rich men. Why so lazy and afraid of hard work?

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  • Soccerbetting2:

    Reported on Straits Times :Quote -”6 years’ jail for 77-year-old man who misappropriated more than $4.7 million
    Jerry Lee Kian Eng had in one instance conspired with his long-term life partner Alison See Lay Eng.

    Shaffiq Alkhatib
    Court Correspondent
    PUBLISHEDAUG 25, 2021, 3:06 PM SGT
    FACEBOOKWHATSAPP
    SINGAPORE – A certified public accountant with over 40 years’ standing misappropriated funds from various sources, including a dead person’s estate, to feed overseas investments which turned out to be scams.

    In total, Jerry Lee Kian Eng took more than $4.7 million, directing much of the money to bank accounts in the Philippines….”Unquote.

    Response : “Jerry Lee Kian Eng had in one instance conspired with his long-term life partner Alison See Lay Eng ” ????

    You all smart people out there got ever wonder why when this couple Jerry Lee Kian Eng and his long term partner Alison See lay Eng both are conspiracy criminals in crime involving huge sum of money more than $4.7 millions, why is the law only sending the man to 6 years jail and his partner Alison See Lay Eng no need to be charged to serve 6 years jail also ? Why ? Everytime, we read of so many con woman who steal or con so much millions,but most of them no need to serve jail,why ? Such thing happen and can be read on internet news media too often already and it is very obvious already !You smart (sarcasm intended) TR Emeritus people cannot see it ? The joke of Singapore law system that is not functioning correctly and cannot be criticized too ? Got logic or not ?

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  • xoxo:

    Too many CONfusing *provisions*?
    The practice of LAW here has become a mockery in many instances and scenarios.

    What is right and what is wrong is difficult to decipher .
    The RICH N POWERFOOL$ WILL TEND TO WIN even when they are the perpetrators.

    Poor man tends to be losers even when they are victims.

    Do we have a LAW SOC to assist or is it just a LAW SUCKS?

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  • Nathan Chen:

    You got a screw loose inside your head means you got a screw loose inside your head. It’s not going to go away unless the person do something to remove the screw. Some are obsessed with washing their hands till the skin from their hands. Some can resist shoplifting even though they knew they are under surveyance and they can more afford the item they are stealing.

    Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is an illness. The suffer can’t turn it on and off when it suit them. Voyuers and peeping toms are manifesting their sickness when caught in the caught.

    The government psychiatrist completely ignored the opinions of two psychiatrists engaged by the defendent. And diagnosed the defendent medical condition at the time of the commission of the offence have nothing to do with his offence.

    This case is pending on appeal based on points of law and the flawed government psychiatrist evaluation of the defendent.

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  • Harder Truths:

    The outcome already decided. People are duped into thinking this all real somehow.

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  • nathan chen:

    First, I apologize to you who bother to go through what I write for all the irritating careless spelling mistakes, not spending sufficient time to proofread what I write and my all-over-the-place disorganize ideas and points I am trying to express here. However, I will not apologize for not being a lawyer or a psychiatrist for wanting to see the world through my own eyes.

    The prognosis of the MOT psychiatrist is, Mr Koh, is afflicted with OCD and Hoarding Disorder. Then the same MOT psychiatrist diagnoses there are no clinical evidence to attach Mr Koh’s medical condition to his commission of offence at the point of time. Can you see the fractures in the MOT psychiatrist prognosis and diagnosis of Mr Koh?

    Mr Koh’s psychiatrists must be given a hearing in the appeal for a second and complete professional opinion. Leave the legal aspects to M Ravi. More need not be said.

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