SINGAPORE — A polytechnic student who told his school counsellor to call the police or he would “attempt murder” and attack his classmates, pleaded guilty to a charge of using threatening words to cause alarm on Wednesday (20 October).
The State Court on Wednesday (20 October) ordered that the teen be assessed for a mandatory treatment order (MTO). An MTO is usually given to accused persons with psychiatric disorders. Offenders will then receive psychiatric treatment in lieu of jail time.
The 19-year-old Singaporean, a first-year student, cannot be named as the court imposed a gag order protecting the accused and the victim’s identity, as well as the name of the polytechnic.
On the afternoon of 5 August this year, 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.”
Investigations later found that the teen had bought a hoe from his home to school about two months ago and claimed it was for “self defence” as he believed that others wanted to harm him.
Major depressive disorder
The prosecution noted that the teen had been suffering from major depressive disorder and that a psychiatrist had stated a “clear contributory link” between the illness and his offence.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Jeremy Bin said that his offence had been a “misguided attempt by the accused 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.
The teen has since been responding to treatment. The prosecution did not object to the calling of an MTO suitability report.
The teen is currently out on bail. He will return to court on 17 November for his sentencing.
The case occurred less than a month after a 16-year-old boy from River Valley High School allegedly killed a schoolmate in one of the school’s toilets. The teen was charged in court the next day.
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