Company director who raped 11-year-old

Accused not depressed, psychiatrist testifies

Man claims unhappy childhood, early sexual exposure, but doc says his mind was sound

A company director, who raped his son's former girlfriend, said his first sexual relationship was with his family's maid when he was 13 years old.

The 47-year-old man also told a government psychiatrist that his father had multiple affairs with women whom he would take home, and that his mother once overdosed on pills she was taking to cope with the stress caused by her husband's infidelity.

These details emerged in the High Court yesterday when former Institute of Mental Health consultant Bharat Saluja testified that the accused was not suffering from any mental disorder at the time of the offences.

Dr Saluja was disputing the opinion of defence psychiatrist Tommy Tan, who had concluded in a report that the accused was suffering from major depressive disorder at the time as a result of various stressors at work and at home.

On Tuesday, the man, who cannot be named under a gag order, admitted sexually abusing the girl over a period of 11/2 years when she was between 11 and 13 years old.

In December 2012, he found nude photos of her which she had sent to his son via Facebook, and contacted her on the pretext of talking to her about breaking up with the boy. However, he drove the girl, who was then in Primary 5, to Copthorne King's Hotel and raped her in a room he had booked.

She was angry at first but grew to like him and continued meeting him for consensual sex acts in carparks, hotels and the rooftop of her condominium.

Although he pleaded guilty to two charges of statutory rape and one charge of sexual penetration of a minor, the defence, in mitigation, sought to rely on a psychiatric report that stated that he had major depressive disorder. The prosecution did not accept this, and a hearing was held to hear psychiatric evidence from both sides.

Yesterday, Dr Saluja said the accused did not have any mental disorder at the time, based on interviews in July 2014 after the man was charged.

Dr Saluja told the court that people with depression would not be able to find enjoyment in any activity but, in the man's case, he was enjoying sexual activities with the girl.

He said a depressed mood by itself is not a mental disorder, unless it affects one's ability to carry out day-to-day functions. In the man's case, he was able to function well, said Dr Saluja.

Dr Tan is expected to take the stand next Friday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 10, 2018, with the headline 'Accused not depressed, psychiatrist testifies'. Print Edition | Subscribe