Teenage blogger Amos Yee Pang Sang, 16, has been remanded at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) for two weeks pending a psychiatric report.
Before the State Courts on Tuesday (Jun 23), District Judge Jasvender Kaur said that a report by Dr Munidasa Winslow said that Yee may suffer from autism-spectrum disorder. This emerged from the reformative training suitability report, which found the accused physically and mentally suitable for reformative training.
As such, Judge Kaur said that she is exploring other sentencing options, including a mandatory treatment order.
A mandatory treatment order provides treatment for offenders suffering from psychiatric conditions that are susceptible to treatment, where the accused will have to undergo psychiatric treatment. It is meted out in lieu of imprisonment.
It was introduced as part of a series of community-based sentencing (CBS) options implemented since January 2011, under Criminal Procedure Code 2010. If the CBS is successfully completed, the criminal record will be rendered spent. This means the offender is deemed to have no record of that conviction.
The next hearing is on Jul 6 at 2.30pm, when the psychiatric report is expected to be ready.
The prosecution, led by Deputy Public Prosecutor Hay Hung Chun, reminded the courts that they had suggested on two previous occasions that Yee be assessed by relevant experts on his mental health.
NO PREVIOUS INDICATION OF MENTAL CONDITION
Speaking to the media, Yee’s father Alphonsus said that he noted there was speculation from the public on Yee’s mental health but no previous medical check-ups had revealed that Yee might have autism-spectrum disorder.
Yee was found guilty of two charges – one for making offensive or wounding remarks against Christianity and another for circulating obscene imagery. A third charge, for the teen blogger’s statements on the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew in a YouTube video, was withdrawn.
On Tuesday, Yee agreed to privatise all his posts and not repost the offending posts, according to his lawyer Alfred Dodwell.
Yee had previously rejected the option of probation and a term in the Reformative Training Centre as a sentence, sticking to his original plea for a jail term.
In his previous hearing on Jun 2, Judge Kaur made the call for the reformative training suitability report to be done in view of Yee refusing a possible probation sentence and failing to turn up for meetings with his probation officer.
After Yee’s probation officer reported the turn of events to the courts, prosecutors then made a call for reformative training, which was seen by them as a move that was in line with rehabilitation as opposed to a jail term or fine.
Reformative training is an option for young offenders aged between 16 and 18 years old who are assessed to be unsuitable for probation. Offenders will be detained for a minimum of 18 months in the Reformative Training Centre.
It was made known to prosecutors on May 21 that Yee had republished online the image and video pertaining to the case. He was told to take the materials down when he was charged.
In a statement Monday, the United Nations Human Rights Office asked Singapore courts to “drop the demand for sentencing (Yee) to the RTC” and called for the “immediate release of (Yee) in line with (Singapore’s) commitment under the UN Convention on the Rights of Child”.