Today, a young man was sentenced to death for murdering his 18-year-old girlfriend in Ang Mo Kio more than two years ago. Despite all sorts of pyschological pleas to explain why he killed, the judge found him guilty.
The convict claimed that he had been provoked by the victim who had taunted him by saying her new beau was better in bed than he was. He further claimed his mind was blank when he stabbed his late girl friend.
His lawyer also claimed that since he was a child, the convict had an attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, a condition associated with impulsivity and rage, and that the abnormal mental state reduced his responsibility for the killing.
But these defences were rejected by the High Court.
I wonder whether the spate of high profile violent youth gang activities in recent days, leading to one death and several youngsters being severely injured could have steeled the judge’s decision or to put it another way, made him place less weight on the reasons put forward by the defence to explain the killing.
The recent spate of violence kicked off with a Republic Polytechnic student being fatally slashed in Downtown East. Five youths were charged with the murder but what underlined their blatant disregard for the law was that nineteen youths actually turned up in court to support the fifth suspect!
This was followed a few days later by a 20-year-old youth being slashed by a group armed with parangs and choppers in Bukit Panjang. The same group is believed to have attacked six teenagers earlier on in the same vicinity. Twelve have been arrested over the two attacks.
In addition, an island-wide police sweep today have hauled in 40 alleged young gangsters!
Note that I’m not implying, let alone alleging, that the judge in convicting the murderer is biased.
What I’m trying to say is that we are all human and judges no less so. Anyone could be influenced by current day events, even if only subconsciously.
That being the case, no judge can judge solely based on his knowledge of the law, his superior intellect and his overt impartiality. Hence no judge can arrive at his judgement hermetically sealed like the computer programs that guide microsurgery.
So too bad for those who come be4 a judge at a time when headline making external events might, just might, have correlation with the crime they are accused off.
To avoid being sentenced at the wrong time, especially when the sentence is death, it’s best never to get into a situation where you will be at the mercy of the law administered by fallible humans.