Ex-CEO of Prive Group gets jail, fine for assault on teen after appeal by prosecution
The former chief executive of food and beverage firm The Prive Group must serve two weeks' jail and pay a $3,500 fine for assaulting a 13-year-old boy in a lift, after the High Court on Wednesday allowed an appeal by the prosecution.
Justice Vincent Hoong said deterrence eclipses rehabilitation as the dominant sentencing consideration in this case, as he overturned the 12-month mandatory treatment order (MTO) that was handed down to Vu Han Jean-Luc Kha, 44, by a district judge in March.
"I consider (Kha's) voluntary intoxication and the fact that he had committed the offences against a vulnerable victim who suffered psychological scars to be aggravating," he said.
The judge noted that Kha admitted he shared two jugs of beer and half to three-quarters of a bottle of whiskey with his friends at a KTV lounge in Sophia Road and also drank three to four glasses of whiskey at a KTV lounge at Parklane Shopping Mall in Selegie before entering the elevator.
Justice Hoong said the MTO suitability report did not offer adequate insight into the extent to which Kha's offences were attributable to his bipolar disorder, as opposed to his drunken state.
He added: "The present case should not be misconstrued as casting doubt on the veracity or potential severity of bipolar disorder.
"Nor does it set forth a general principle that the court will invariably view claims by offenders that they committed offences while labouring under mental disorders with circumspection. Each case turns on its own facts."
On Nov 22, 2019, the victim, who was 13 years old then, and his brother, who was 12, were in a lift in Parklane Shopping Mall at around 8.15pm when an intoxicated Kha and another man entered the lift.
Kha directed lewd comments at the victim, and, for no apparent reason, punched the victim on his left temple, causing the boy to fall backwards against the lift's handrail.
He then hurled vulgarities at the boy, who grabbed Kha's hands to stop his attacker from hitting him again.
Kha then exclaimed: "You want to challenge me? Why do you want to challenge me?"
The other man held Kha back and pushed him out of the lift on the first storey. But Kha refused to leave and slapped the victim.
As a result of the incident, the boy had difficulties sleeping and was fearful of being in lifts with men.
In seeking an MTO, the defence tendered four psychiatric reports which stated that Kha had bipolar disorder and was likely having a manic episode at the time.
In August, Deputy Attorney-General Tai Wei Shyong appealed for at least eight weeks' jail for a charge of causing hurt to the victim and a fine for the verbal assault.