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Man acquitted of killing mother, grandmother on basis of 'unsound mind' after taking LSD; detained at President's pleasure

SINGAPORE — A 25-year-old man, who caused the deaths of his mother and grandmother, was acquitted in the High Court on Friday (Sept 23), after it was found that he was under the influence of drugs and was of unsound mind at the time of the crime.

Gabriel Lien Goh (centre in car) arriving at the State Courts on Oct 28, 2019.

Gabriel Lien Goh (centre in car) arriving at the State Courts on Oct 28, 2019.

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  • Gabriel Lien Goh pleaded not guilty to two charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder
  • The court heard that he killed his mother and grandmother in 2019 after he consumed the hallucinogenic drug lysergic acid diethylamide or LSD
  • The prosecution said he was of unsound mind at the time of the offences 
  • He will be detained at the President's pleasure

SINGAPORE — A 25-year-old man, who caused the deaths of his mother and grandmother, was acquitted in the High Court on Friday (Sept 23), after it was found that he was under the influence of drugs and was of unsound mind at the time of the crime.

However, Gabriel Lien Goh, a Singaporean, will be held at the President's pleasure, which means he will be detained indefinitely until he is found to be fit for release.

During a brief court hearing on Friday, Goh, who faced two charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, said that he was not pleading guilty to the charges.

He was represented by Mr Eugene Thuraisingam of the eponymously named law firm.

WHAT HAPPENED

The slayings of Goh’s mother, 56-year-old Lee Soh Mui, and grandmother, 90-year-old See Keng Keng, took place on Oct 27, 2019, at Goh’s home where all three were residing together. Ms Admini, their Indonesian domestic worker, also lived with them.

Goh, who was serving his National Service at the time, consumed one tablet of the hallucinogenic drug lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) after lunch. 

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Timotheus Koh said that he then decided to take a second tablet about two hours later because he was “curious” and wanted to “see more psychedelic colours”.

The court heard that that evening, Goh left his home but returned shortly after with a knife. 

His grandmother, who saw the knife and was concerned, asked Ms Admini to check on Goh. 

Before the domestic worker could do so, she heard Goh’s mother saying that she wanted to speak to her son in his room.

Not long later, a shout was heard from Goh’s room and Ms Admini saw Goh standing in front of his mother’s bloodied body.

DPP Koh said that Goh had stabbed his mother through the heart and the right side of her head.

Frightened, Ms Admini fled the house with Goh's grandmother to seek help from a neighbour two units away. 

However, as they were about to enter Mr Christopher Choo's home, Goh punched his grandmother in the face.

Mr Choo, then aged 32, told Goh to calm down, but he was also punched in the face by Goh. 

Goh then tried to grab Ms Admini by the wrist, but she broke free and ran out of Mr Choo’s home. She called a friend and Mr Goh’s older brother, telling them both to call the police.

In the meantime, Goh's grandmother asked for some tissue paper from Mr Choo’s mother, Madam Chiam Chew Juat, to tend to her wounds.

Goh objected and glared at Mdm Chiam and Mr Choo.

Mr Choo again tried to calm Goh down but was punched several times in the face, knocking him to the floor again.

When Mdm Chiam shouted at Goh to stop, Goh then directed his violence towards her. 

Goh’s grandmother, who was seated on a stool in Mr Choo’s house, was then punched multiple times. When Goh stopped hitting her, she was slumped on the floor in a pool of blood. 

Goh was later spotted walking with blood on his hands along a sheltered walkway on Commonwealth Avenue. 

He then attacked a man who told him to calm down after he shouted at a group of at least four passers-by.

In the ensuing scuffle, Goh was restrained by a group of men until the police arrived.

UNSOUND MIND DUE TO LSD

Subsequent investigations found that Goh had acute hallucinogen intoxication at the time he committed the offences due to his consumption of LSD.

As a result, he was experiencing illusions, hallucinations and paranoid delusions, among others, DPP Koh said.

“The acute effects of his LSD consumption consequentially resulted in the manifestation of the destructive behaviour, which in turn culminated in his present two alleged offences.” 

However, when Goh was undergoing a forensic psychiatric evaluation, the drug-effects had worn off and his mental state “was and should remain normal”, DPP Koh added.

He also said Goh has since accepted that he caused the death of his mother, but “repeatedly stated that he had no recollection of what he might have done so as to cause the demise of his mother and grandmother”.

DPP Koh added that the “accused was of unsound mind” around the material time of the alleged offences because of the LSD consumption, and was “deprived, albeit temporarily, of the mental capacity to know and appreciate the nature and wrongfulness of his acts”.

Justice Valerie Thean ordered Goh to be kept in safe custody in prison for the case to be reported to the minister of law.

Section 252 of the Criminal Procedure Code stipulates that the minister may then order him to be confined in a psychiatric institution, prison or another suitable place of safe custody during the President's pleasure.

Goh, who appeared calm during the hearing, was seen gesturing to his relatives and was given time to speak to them.

The punishment for anyone found guilty of committing culpable homicide not amounting to murder is a jail term of up to 20 years, as well as a fine or caning.

Related topics

courts crime LSD drug murder family

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