Mandatory treatment for student who made murder threats to counsellor

·Senior Reporter
·2 min read
A gardening hoe.
A gardening hoe, similar to one brought by the student to school. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — A polytechnic student who told his school counsellor that he would “attempt murder” was given a one-year mandatory treatment order (MTO) on Wednesday (17 November).

The prosecution told the court that the 19-year-old man had been assessed at the Institute of Mental Health, which reported that his major depressive disorder had contributed significantly to his offending behaviour. 

An MTO is usually given to accused persons with psychiatric disorders, and such offenders will receive psychiatric treatment in lieu of jail time.

On the afternoon of 5 August, the teen had scheduled an appointment with a school counsellor at his school. 

At the start of the session, he told the counsellor, “After this session, do me a favour and call the police. If not, I will attempt murder. If you let me go back to class, I will attack my classmates.” He also threatened to kill the father of one of his classmates.

The counsellor felt alarmed and called the police at 2.27pm, saying, “I have a student who attempt (sic) murder. And he also wants to kill himself. He is now in my counselling room. He asked me to call the police because he don't (sic) feel safe. At the moment he is not violent but he said if he step (sic) out of the room, he is going to attack somebody.”

Brought hoe to school, claiming it was for 'self-defence'

Investigations later found that the teen had bought a hoe from his home to school about two months ago. The teen claimed it was for “self defence” as he believed that others wanted to harm him.

He had pleaded guilty to one count of using threatening words to cause the victim alarm, a charged under the Protection from Harassment Act. 

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jeremy Bin said in an earlier court hearing that the teen's offence had been a “misguided attempt" at "passive suicide”, and that the teen had hoped to either receive the death penalty or be imprisoned, as he wanted to be removed from society.

When District Judge Kessler Soh asked the teen if he was prepared to undergo treatment, he said "yes". 

For the charge of using threatening words to cause alarm, an offender could have been jailed up to six months, and/or fined up to $5,000. 

If you are feeling distressed, you can call SOS' 24-hour hotline at 1767 (1-SOS). You can also email pat@sos.org.sg.

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