Indian-origin jailed for robbery in Singapore

Last Updated 27 September 2019, 13:50 IST

An Indian-origin man in Singapore has been sentenced to 11.5 years of jail after being convicted of robbery at a petrol station at knife point in 2017, a media report said Friday.

Visvanathan Vadivelu, 50, had pleaded guilty to committing armed robbery at a Shell petrol station in Singapore’s Upper Bukit Timah Road on July 31, 2017, the Straits Times reported on Thursday. He robbed the petrol station as he was in "desperate need for money".

He was charged with armed robbery two days later and was out on bail when police rearrested him on September 15, 2017, for suspected drug-related offences.

Vishvanathan, who was unemployed when he committed the crime, had a packet of powdery substance which was later found to contain diamorphine or pure heroin. His urine samples also showed traces of the drug as well asmethamphetamine, commonly known as Ice, the paper reported.

He appeared in court on September 17 for his sentencing before absconding that day, compelling the District Judge Kan Shuk Weng to issue a warrant of arrest against him. During the hearing, Visvanathan, who was unrepresented, told Judge Kan that he was "mentally unwell" and that he fled from the court on September 17 after he "heard voices" telling him to go home.

He added that his mother later alerted the police, who arrested him in their flat.

He was hauled back to court on September 19.

Visvanathan told Judge Kan that he wanted to be "sentenced" to the Institute of Mental Health (IMH).

She replied that being sent to IMH is not a sentencing option. Offenders convicted of armed robbery can be jailed for up to 10 years and given at least 12 strokes of the cane. Those over 50 years old cannot be caned.

(Published 27 September 2019, 13:35 IST)

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