SINGAPORE – A lawyer was sentenced to 21 months’ jail on Monday (Oct 12) for consuming methamphetamine (meth) – also known as “Ice”. He had been caught in possession of the drug at the Woodlands Checkpoint in March 2018.
Mark Tan Teik Yu, 42, had earlier pleaded guilty in a district court on Aug 17 to one count of meth consumption.
He also admitted to being in possession of meth, various drug paraphernalia and nimetazepam or Erimin-5 tablets.
District Judge Jasvender Kaur said that she took into consideration several mitigating factors, including psychological assessments that indicated 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 that 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,” said District Judge Kaur.
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 onward, the pair occasionally consumed meth and nimetazepam together.
The day Tan was caught, Iman had texted him to ask him to buy a box of Erimin-5 containing 100 pills.
Tan agreed to do so for $750 and bought the drugs in Malaysia from a contact known only as “DC”. While at DC’s home, Tan consumed meth, the court heard.
When he arrived at the Woodlands Checkpoint at around 10.45pm, an Aetos officer checked his car and found a pouch containing drug paraphernalia such as a glass tube.
An Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) task force officer was then alerted and he found more drug utensils such as four coloured straws and a rubber tube inside the car.
The ICA officer later found some pills containing nimetazepam and crystalline substances containing meth.
Tan’s urine sample was taken and it was positive for meth.
He claimed he had consumed the drug to feel “alert and awake” while driving back to Singapore.
Central Narcotics Bureau officers raided Tan’s home around 6am the next day and found more crystalline substances containing meth in a drawer of a bedside table.
District Judge Kaur said that further mitigating factors were also being 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 re-offending or relapsing.
District Judge Kaur added that she had also taken into consideration the fact that the quantity of Ice Tan possessed was “relatively small”, and that the drugs were meant for his consumption only.
After his sentencing, Tan was seen crying shortly before he left the court room and embracing his family members.
He will begin serving his jail term on Monday (Oct 19). His bail is set at $20,000.
Offenders convicted of meth consumption can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined up to $20,000.
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