Su Caizhi, 30, may suffer from schizophrenia but he must still be held responsible for his “reprehensible” deeds, ruled Justice Kannan Ramesh at the High Court on Thursday (22 February).
Su was sentenced to a total of 15 years, 3 months, and 6 weeks jail for beating his adoptive father to death, grievously hurting his adoptive mother and girlfriend and for wrongfully confining the latter and her ex-husband.
Su’s first charge for culpable homicide not amounting to murder landed him 14 years in jail, a charge that carries a maximum penalty of 20 years.
Justice Ramesh agreed with the prosecution that it was a “serious and heinous” offence as Su’s 72-year-old father, Pang Tee Lin, was a defenseless and vulnerable old man. He noted that Pang had also adopted and taken care of Su for more than 20 years before the attack on 31 December, 2015.
Further, the attack on Pang was “unmitigated and savage”: Su continued to stomp and kick the victim even after Pang had fallen and was bleeding from his head, nose, and mouth.
‘Unmitigated, savage attack’
While in remand, Su was seen by a doctor from the Institute of Mental Health (IMH). His report stated that Su “was suffering from these symptoms (delusions and hallucinations) of Schizophrenia at the time of alleged offence… this substantially impaired his mental responsibility for his acts leading to the alleged offence.”
Justice Ramesh said he recognised the “psychiatric ailment which impairs” Su. However, the Judge added, it was “important” to note that there “was no suggestion that he (Su) was not aware that he was savagely attacking his adoptive father”.
Furthermore, Su was admitted to IMH seven times for Schizophrenia between July 2012 and December 2015. In this period he had behaved aggressively towards Pang, even making death threats.
These should have “served as wake-up calls” for Su. Yet he repeatedly failed to “resume his medication, offering the flimsy excuse that he had misplaced them,” said Justice Ramesh. Su was also sniffing glue, which compounded his mental health issues.
Separately, two of the four charges Su faced were for grievously hurting his 69-year-old adoptive mother Wang Ah Boey, and 34-year-old girlfriend Melissa Foo Fern Yin.
Foo was visiting Su on the morning that he killed Pang. While in Su’s bedroom, Foo rejected his demands for anal sex. Su choked her into unconsciousness then beat and stomped on her. Among other injuries, she suffered from liver lacerations and facial and rib fractures, and required surgery.
Su then went to look for his medicine but found the container empty. He claimed a voice in his head told him his adoptive father Pang stole it. This prompted him to head into the master bedroom and attack Pang.
Su’s adoptive mother Wang walked into the scene and tried to flee but he caught her and banged her head repeatedly against the wall. She suffered facial fractures as well.
The final charge was for an offense on 21 December 2015 when Su wrongfully confined Foo and her ex-husband at their home by locking the gates. For this, he was sentenced to an additional 6 weeks jail.
Justice Ramesh noted that as Su no longer has familial support, the “structured and disciplined” environment of imprisonment will ensure he receives adequate medical treatment. This will aid in his rehabilitation.
Said Justice Ramesh: “It will also make him fully understand his illness and instil in him the importance of taking, and the discipline to take, his medication.”
This will “ameliorate if not eradicate”, the risk that he poses to others.