Psychiatrist wary of rapist's offer to undergo counselling

SINGAPORE - He told his psychiatrist that he knew rape was wrong and that it was animalistic.

He said he had been arrested and jailed because he spurned the advances of one of his victims.

But when given three wishes, convicted serial rapist Azuar Ahamad, 43, said that he wanted the charges against him to be dropped. A return to his life was his second wish. And if that could not happen, he wanted a lighter sentence.

Azuar had pleaded guilty to raping several women between 2008 and 2009 but had disputed drugging them.

On Thursday, in the continuation of his date-rape trial, former Institute of Mental Health (IMH) psychiatrist John Bosco Lee testified that Azuar's wishes were self-absorbed. Dr Lee was responding to a question from Deputy Public Prosecutor Andrew Tan Shao Wei about Azuar's recent willingness to voluntarily attend counselling while in prison.

"While I won't discount his actions, I'll be very careful... " Dr Lee said, adding that Azuar could be doing this to portray a certain image.

The prosecution had asked for a 45-year jail term, one of the longest the State has sought for a criminal.

Dr Lee, a prosecution witness who was earlier questioned by the prosecution for three days on his psychiatric assessment of Azuar, said the accused was a pathological liar and had a personality disorder. Not only had Azuar told different stories to different general practitioners to obtain sleeping pills, but he also assumed different personae when getting to know his potential victims online.

SLEW OF OFFENCES

Azuar was accused of a slew of offences, including drugging and raping four women in 2009.

Referred to as the date rapist, Azuar met his victims through the Speed Date application on Facebook and went out with them to bars where he allegedly drugged them before raping them.

On Wednesday, psychiatrist Munidasa Winslow, testifying for the defence, said it was unlikely the women had drunk themselves into a stupor because they were not new to alcohol, and they did not have that many drinks on the night they were attacked.

They said they could not remember events quickly, which was consistent with the effects of midazolam, a sedative.

The trial continues on Tuesday when IMH psychiatrist Tejpal Singh will take the stand.

ABOUT THE CASE

Azuar Ahamad has pleaded guilty to raping four women in 2009 but he is now on trial for allegedly drugging his victims.

He got to know the women through the Speed Date application on Facebook and met them for drinks at pubs.

All four victims reported blacking out after consuming a drink he bought them, and they could not remember anything until they came to the next morning.

It was revealed that Azuar had raped or sexually violated the women and recorded the crimes on his phone.

He pleaded guilty to rape in August 2012 but denies drugging the women with sedatives.

Instead, he says they drank themselves into a stupor.

There is now a trial-within-a-trial, or a Newton hearing, in which the prosecution is trying to prove that Azuar had spiked the women's drinks.

lawsm@sph.com.sg


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