Asia

Eye doctor who threw wine bottle at car sentenced to year-long mandatory treatment order

SINGAPORE – Eye doctor Lennard Harold Thean See Yin, 55, who is head of ophthalmology at Ng Teng Fong General Hospital (NTFGH), was sentenced on Wednesday (March 18) to a year’s mandatory treatment order (MTO) after pleading guilty last month to committing a rash act.

Responding to queries from The Straits Times, NTFGH said that it is aware of the judgement made in court on Wednesday.

The hospital spokesman added: “We will continue to support Dr Lennard Thean as he seeks the necessary treatment.

The ophthalmologist had been previously diagnosed with major depressive disorder. The court had heard earlier that he was undergoing treatment and presented no danger to his patients.

Under the MTO, Thean has to undergo treatment for his mental condition in lieu of possible jail time.

The doctor had pleaded guilty on Feb 19 to committing a rash act by flinging a wine bottle at another man’s car. It struck the left tail light, causing more than $2,000 in damage.

But he did compensate the private-hire car driver – 36-year-old Martin Lu Junwei – in full.

On March 18 last year, Mr Lu picked up two passengers at around 8.30pm and was told to drive to Queen Astrid Park, near Holland Road.

As he approached a roundabout in Coronation Road West, he stopped his car about 2m past the stop line.

Last month, Deputy Public Prosecutor Kumaresan Gohulabalan said:”This caused the accused’s car, which was approaching from the victim’s right and had right of way, to quickly halt to avoid any potential accident.The accused sounded his horn at the victim. Both the victim’s and accused’s cars did not collide and were about 2m apart at the time.”

Mr Lu waved his right hand in apology but Thean “gestured angrily” at him instead. He then drove after the younger man while repeatedly sounding his horn.

When Mr Lu’s passengers alighted about a minute later, Thean pulled up next to Mr Lu’s car, wound down his window and started shouting at him.

Mr Lu drove away as he wanted to avoid a confrontation but the older man continued following him before throwing the bottle at the private-hire car. Mr Lu lodged a police report two days later.

Before handing down the sentence on Wednesday, District Judge Marvin Bay noted that in February last year, Thean was experiencing what a psychiatrist described as a “deterioration in his mental state”.

The judge added: “The psychiatrist had set out in detail some traumatic events in Dr Thean’s childhood which had contributed to his mental state. These included memories of a kidnapping at age four, a car accident just months after, when his aunt had driven into a monsoon drain and an oppressive childhood, where his late mother’s behaviour had caused him to attempt self-harm.”

Judge Bay said that Thean had also told his psychiatrist that on the day of the rash act, his conduct had been “precipitated by anger and fear” when Mr Lu’s car “dashed out”, causing the eye doctor to slam his brake to avoid a collision.

Judge Bay said that this had triggered “an apparent fight or flight reflex” and caused Thean to later throw the bottle at Mr Lu’s car.

For committing the rash act, Thean could have been jailed for up to six months and fined up to $2,500.

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