Alleged attacks on madrasah girls: Man had psychiatric illness

Facade of Madrasah Al-Maarif Al-Islamiah school building.
Facade of Madrasah Al-Maarif Al-Islamiah school building. ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

The security officer accused of hurting three madrasah students earlier this month was found to be suffering from a major psychiatric illness at the time of the alleged offences.

Koh Weng Onn, 48, who had been sent for psychiatric assessment, suffers from a delusional disorder with "delusions of persecution and reference", said an Institute of Mental Health (IMH) doctor.

As the doctor found Koh to have a high risk of re-offending, the prosecution yesterday objected to bail for Koh, saying he would be a danger to the public. Quoting the IMH report, Deputy Public Prosecutor Goh Yi Ling said that if Koh is sent back to the community, it is strongly advisable that he be taken back to IMH for treatment under the Mental Health (Treatment and Care) Act.

She said the prosecution wants to find out the "specific nature" of his delusions. She also wants to know the course and length of treatment recommended, saying it is crucial in determining the prosecution's next course of action. The prosecution asked for an adjournment, until it gets the clarifications from IMH.

Koh's lawyer Sunil Sudheesan, hired by an anonymous Arab-Muslim entrepreneur from the Aljunied family, said he had no objection to the adjournment and that no bail be offered. He suggested that Koh's psychiatric report be given to the remand prison so he receives treatment during remand. The second course, he said, is to allow bail on condition that the prosecution applies for Koh to be taken back to IMH immediately for treatment.

DPP Goh said she did not object to the psychiatric report being extended to the prison but the second proposal might be "too preliminary".

Koh is accused of kicking a 16-year-old madrasah student on her right thigh, an attack which was "racially aggravated", along Paya Lebar Road on April 1 at 7.22am.

On the same day, he also allegedly swung a plastic bag with a filled 1.5-litre water bottle at two other female madrasah students, both 14, in two separate incidents.

Koh's case is fixed for a pre-trial conference on May 9.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 26, 2016, with the headline 'Alleged attacks on madrasah girls: Man had psychiatric illness'. Print Edition | Subscribe