Amos Yee to be remanded at IMH

Amos Yee will be remanded for two weeks at IMH to undergo psychiatric examination.
Amos Yee will be remanded for two weeks at IMH to undergo psychiatric examination. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

TEENAGE blogger Amos Yee will be remanded for two weeks at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) to undergo psychiatric examination.

In a pre-sentence hearing, the court was told yesterday that a prison report found the 16-year-old physically and mentally fit for reformative training.

However, a psychiatric assessment by Dr Munidasa Winslow contained in the report suggested that Yee may be suffering from autism spectrum disorder - which can be characterised by social deficits and communication difficulties.

District Judge Jasvender Kaur therefore ordered that Yee be remanded at the IMH for two weeks to see if he is suitable for a Mandatory Treatment Order (MTO).

First implemented in 2010, an MTO requires offenders with mental conditions to undergo psychiatric treatment for up to two years in lieu of jail time.

The Straits Times understands Yee also submitted an undertaking to the court, agreeing to make the offending posts private and not disseminate them further. As of 5pm yesterday, the posts were no longer accessible on Yee's blog and YouTube channel.

Yee's case is scheduled to be heard again on July 6, when Judge Kaur will consider sentencing options such as an MTO and reformative training. On June 2, she had ordered him to be remanded for three weeks to be assessed for a reformative training report.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Hay Hung Chun noted that the prosecution had already suggested that Yee be examined by psychiatrists on previous occasions.

Yee had been found guilty of making remarks intending to hurt the feelings of Christians in a video and uploading an obscene image.

Yesterday, Yee seemed wan and unkempt and sat unsmiling in the dock. He has spent almost 40 days in remand to date.

Defence lawyer Alfred Dodwell said his client had not objected to the IMH assessment.

He said: "The judge is clearly doing her level best to ensure that Amos gets the best treatment and perhaps rehabilitation."

Yee's mother, Madam Mary Toh, 48, arrived in court wearing a T-shirt with a #FreeAmosYee slogan in support of her son.

The shirt depicted Yee in a banana-esque submarine, referencing The Beatles' hit Yellow Submarine.

His father, computer engineer Alphonsus Yee, told reporters his son had not been previously diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

He said: "There has been a lot of speculation online about it, but nothing in his growing-up years suggested this."

oliviaho@sph.com.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 24, 2015, with the headline 'Amos Yee to be remanded at IMH'. Print Edition | Subscribe