Daughter of Hour Glass founders jailed

22-month term for repeated drug abuse, as well as ban and fine for driving without due care

The daughter of the couple who founded luxury watch retailer The Hour Glass was sentenced to jail for 22 months yesterday for repeatedly abusing drugs over two years.

Former public relations consultant Audrey Tay May Li, 45, was also disqualified from driving for 18 months and fined $1,000 for driving without due care and attention.

She pleaded guilty to the three drug charges and the driving charge on Aug 27.

Another five drug-related charges were taken into consideration during sentencing.

She was arrested in August 2015 after knocking over a traffic light pole while driving under the influence of the drug ketamine.

While out on bail, Tay reoffended in October last year when she turned up intoxicated for a psychiatric assessment at the Institute of Mental Health.

Former public relations consultant Audrey Tay May Li was arrested in August 2015 after knocking over a traffic light pole while driving under the influence of the drug ketamine. She reoffended last October, turning up intoxicated for a psychiatric as
Former public relations consultant Audrey Tay May Li was arrested in August 2015 after knocking over a traffic light pole while driving under the influence of the drug ketamine. She reoffended last October, turning up intoxicated for a psychiatric assessment at the Institute of Mental Health. Tay will be appealing against her sentence, and is out on bail. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Defence counsel Eugene Thuraisingam argued for Tay to be given probation in lieu of an imprisonment term of two years and two months sought by the prosecution.

Mr Thuraisingam said Tay's substance abuse was a form of "self medication to escape from the stresses of her life", adding that the eldest daughter of Ms Jannie Chan, 72, and Dr Henry Tay, 73, suffered when they divorced in 2010.

Tay herself is a divorcee with three children, but she had her elder daughter taken away from her in 2014 by her former husband, according to court papers.

Tay suffered from "overwhelming pain and despair from her elder daughter rejecting her", said Mr Thuraisingam.

As a result, she developed psychiatric issues and was later found to be suffering from adjustment disorder with depressed mood and anxiety, and from substance abuse disorder.

These circumstances "exacerbated her mood... and led her to recklessly take the substance", said Mr Thuraisingam.

NOT AN EXCEPTIONAL CASE

Despite the accused's background, the case is completely ordinary, in terms of the type of conviction, the reasons for consumption and the accidents that occurred.

DEPUTY PUBLIC PROSECUTOR TERENCE CHUA, who said the case was not exceptional enough to warrant probation.

However, Deputy Public Prosecutor Terence Chua said Tay's case was not exceptional enough to warrant probation.

He argued that deterrence is usually the dominant consideration for drug offences and a custodial term is usually warranted, except in exceptional cases.

"Despite the accused's background, the case is completely ordinary, in terms of the type of conviction, the reasons for consumption and the accidents that occurred," said DPP Chua.

 

In sentencing, District Judge Shaifuddin Saruwan said: "Her ability to make conscious choices is not impaired."

Tay is currently out on bail of $80,000 as she will be appealing against the sentence.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 12, 2018, with the headline 'Daughter of Hour Glass founders jailed'. Print Edition | Subscribe