Director who raped son's ex-girlfriend 'had affairs to cope with depression': Psychiatrist

SINGAPORE - A company director, who raped his son's former girlfriend, said he hated his father's womanising ways when he was young and could not understand why he became a womaniser like his father.

The 47-year-old had told this to a psychiatrist, who testified for the defence in the High Court on Friday (March 16), that he was not able to conclude why the man followed in his father's footsteps despite his dislike of his father's behaviour.

Dr Tommy Tan, however, concluded the man had used extramarital affairs as a response or mechanism to cope with his depression.

Dr Tan said the man's major depressive disorder, caused by stressful situations at work and at home, had made him susceptible to committing the offences.

Last week (March 6), the man, who cannot be named as ordered by the court to protect the victim's identity, admitted he had sexually abused the girl from December 2012 to May 2014, when she was between 11 and 13 years old.

He had found her nude pictures, which she had sent to his son on Facebook, and contacted her on the pretext of talking to her about her break-up with his son. But he drove the then-Primary 5 pupil to Copthorne King's Hotel and raped her in a room that he had booked.

The girl continued to meet him for consensual sex acts in carparks, hotels and the rooftop of her condominium.

 

He pleaded guilty to two charges of statutory rape and one charge of sexual penetration of a minor. A further hearing was held to decide whether the man has depression, as his lawyer wants to rely on Dr Tan's psychiatric report in mitigation.

 

Last Friday (Mar 9), prosecution psychiatrist Bharat Saluja disputed Dr Tan's report.

 

The court heard that when the man was young, his father had multiple affairs with women he would bring home. After getting married, he himself had a few extramarital affairs with adult women.

Dr Tan, in his testimony on Friday (Mar 16), told defence counsel Anand Nalachandran that people can turn to alcohol, smoking or fishing to cope with depression.

In the accused's case, having extramarital affairs was his way of seeking relief from depression. It was "unfortunate" that he got involved with a young girl, as there would be no criminal charges if he was having an affair with an adult woman, he said.

He concluded the accused had his first major depressive episode in 2001 after his start-up business failed.

The current episode was caused by stressors at work and at home, Dr Tan said.

At work, these were conflicts between him and his siblings working in the family business and clients hurrying him to complete projects. At home, his mother and their maids could not get along and his wife nagged him about his past infidelity.

As a result, he had depression symptoms, including fatigue, no sense of enjoyment, anxiety, headaches, weight gain, insomnia and suicidal thoughts, Dr Tan added.