Cat hurled from Yishun block: Man gets 18-month probation

Lee, who has moderate intellectual disability, admitted to one count of wantonly causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.
Lee, who has moderate intellectual disability, admitted to one count of wantonly causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

A 41-year-old unemployed man who threw a cat over the 13th-floor parapet of his block in Yishun Ring Road and caused its death on Oct 30 last year was sentenced to 18 months of probation yesterday.

Lee Wai Leong, who has moderate intellectual disability, admitted to one count of wantonly causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.

The cat died from multiple traumatic injuries, including fractures and organ failure.

A community court heard that he committed the offence because the cat - which he had picked up from the ground floor - was "noisy" and had entered his home once before.

While remanded for three weeks at the Institute of Mental Health for assessment, he was assessed to be "simple-minded".

Given his mental disability and simple-mindedness, the prosecution said Lee did not commit the offence with any cruel intent.

"The accused had limited comprehension of the magnitude of and the consequences that flow from his wrongdoing," said Deputy Public Prosecutor Lee Zu Zhao.

Lee's lawyer, Mr Josephus Tan, assigned by the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme, had said in mitigation that Lee has epilepsy.

He dropped out of school after Primary 4 and has the estimated IQ of a 10-year-old or lower. He is unable to work and spends his day helping out with household chores and looking after his 14 pet fish.

Mr Tan also said Lee's parents, elder brother, sister-in-law and niece have taken measures to ensure that he does not abuse cats any more. Since the offence, his parents have been monitoring him and he has been sharing the room with his parents and niece.

Sentencing him to probation, District Judge Mathew Joseph said animal violence of any kind was not to be condoned. He also expressed his concern about Lee re-offending. "It is cruel and it is a cowardly act against a defenceless creature. I hope you have learnt from this," he told Lee.

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore has received 41 reports of cat deaths in Yishun since September last year.

Lee will attend programmes specified by the probation officer and his parents will be bonded to ensure his good behaviour. He could have been jailed for up to 18 months and fined up to $15,000 under the Animals and Birds Act.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 08, 2016, with the headline 'Cat hurled from Yishun block: Man gets 18-month probation'. Print Edition | Subscribe