Singapore

Lawyer jailed 21 months for consumption of Ice

He had marital problems, lost his job and turned to drugs while suffering from major depressive disorder

A lawyer was sentenced to 21 months' jail yesterday for consuming methamphetamine, or Ice. He was caught in possession of the drug at Woodlands Checkpoint in March 2018.

Mark Tan Teik Yu, 42, had pleaded guilty in a district court on Aug 17 this year to one count of meth consumption.

He had also admitted to being in possession of meth, various drug paraphernalia, as well as nimetazepam, or Erimin-5, tablets.

District Judge Jasvender Kaur said she took into consideration several mitigating factors, including psychological assessments indicating that Tan was suffering from major depressive disorder.

This mental health condition was further aggravated by high levels of stress due to his financial situation, and being fired from the law firm where he worked.

Tan's depression then worsened when he discovered his then wife was having an affair.

District Judge Kaur noted that Tan had initially turned to alcohol for relief, before he was introduced to meth in 2012.

"The accused was a high-functioning, mature individual before his first contact with drugs. His consumption of methamphetamine was an ill-judged effort to stop his emotional spiral, with his major depressive disorder making him less likely to think critically," she said.

The court had earlier heard that Tan was in Malaysia on March 17, 2018, when one of his friends in Singapore - Iman Hakiki Azhari - contacted him. Deputy Public Prosecutors Ivan Chua and Yee Jia Rong stated in court documents that Iman and Tan had been friends since 2010.

From 2012, the pair occasionally consumed meth and nimetazepam together.

The day that Tan was caught, Iman had texted him to ask him to buy a box of 100 Erimin-5 pills. Tan agreed to do so for $750 and bought the drugs in Malaysia from a contact known as "DC". While at DC's home, Tan consumed meth, the court heard.

When he arrived at Woodlands Checkpoint around 10.45pm, a security officer checked his car and found a pouch containing drug paraphernalia.

SINCERE EFFORTS

An Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) task force officer then found drug utensils such as four coloured straws and a rubber tube, some pills containing nimetazepam, and crystalline substances containing meth.

District Judge Kaur said further mitigating factors were also taken into consideration in Tan's sentencing.

This included the "sincere efforts" that Tan has since made in his treatment, including his active participation in recovery support groups, and his low odds of reoffending or relapsing.

Offenders convicted of meth consumption can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined up to $20,000.

COURT & CRIME