In a recent court ruling, Looi Kai Ye, a 37-year-old with special needs, was found guilty of causing grievous hurt by an act that endangered personal safety, according to The Straits Times.
He was found guilty on January 30, which sheds light on the complexities of legal proceedings involving individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders.
The Incident: A Sprint Gone Wrong
On September 5, 2023, around noon, Looi Kai Ye, diagnosed with autism and bipolar disorder, collided with a 76-year-old man while rushing to catch a bus along Block 101 Tampines Avenue 2.
The impact was severe, flinging the victim and causing the elderly man to hit his head against a metal railing. Despite the gravity of the situation, Looi boarded a bus and left the scene, leaving the victim in distress.
Closed-circuit television footage played in court revealed the force of the collision and the subsequent flinging of the elderly man against a railing. Shockingly, instead of rendering assistance, Looi chose to leave the scene, raising questions about his awareness and decision-making.
Legal Ramifications: Understanding the Charges
The court found Looi guilty not only of causing grievous hurt but also of three other offenses: voluntarily causing hurt resulting in grievous harm, using criminal force with intent to outrage modesty, and committing an obscene act. Two additional counts of committing an obscene act are under consideration for his sentencing on February 23.
Looi’s case brings attention to the intersection of mental health and legal culpability. Diagnosed with autism, bipolar disorder, and borderline intellectual functioning, his actions were scrutinized in the context of his mental health conditions.
Previous Offenses: Patterns of Behavior
The court considered Looi’s past actions, including an incident in April where he pushed a 67-year-old woman, causing her injuries. His history also includes instances of molestation and trespassing, shedding light on a pattern of socially inappropriate and impulsive behavior.
Mental Health Assessment: The Role of Institute of Mental Health (IMH)
In September 2023, Looi underwent a mental health assessment by IMH psychiatrist Cheow Enquan. The assessment concluded that Looi was not of unsound mind during the collision and was not experiencing a relapse of bipolar disorder. However, his mental conditions were identified as having significant contributory links to his past molestation offense.
The prosecution is seeking a jail term ranging from 10 months and a week to 14 months and two weeks, along with a substantial fine. Looi’s lawyer, Mr. Ranjit Singh, sought a mandatory treatment order and probation, emphasizing Looi’s mental health conditions. However, the request was rejected by District Judge Kessler Soh, citing the serious harm caused by Looi’s offenses.