The former chief executive of food and beverage firm The Prive Group, Vu Han Jean-Luc Kha, was sentenced to 12 months of mandatory treatment on 29 March. He is convicted for verbally and physically assaulting a 13-year-old boy.
A report to see if Kha, 44, would be suitable for a mandatory treatment order (MTO) for bipolar disorder found he could have suffered a “manic episode with possible psychosis” which could have provided a contributory link between his mental illness and the offences.
Kha was last year convicted of one count of assault and another for harassment of the boy he had met in a lift in November 2019. The court heard that the victim and his then 12-year-old brother were in a lift in Parklane Shopping Mall in Selegie at around 8. 15pm when an intoxicated Kha and another man, then 41, joined the boys.
The intoxicated man then asked the boy if he had hair on his privates. When the victim replied no Kha asked him, “Do you want to see mine?” Even whe victim again replied no, Kha refused to relent, and told the victim that he could arrange a sexual act for boy, who said no again.
This was when Kha, a Frenchman, punched the boy on his left temple without warning, causing the victim to fall backwards and slam his left upper arm into the elevator’s handrails. He then verbally abused the boy, who grabbed at his hands to prevent further assaults.
Kha continued his verbal abuse, saying, “You want to challenge me? You have no hair on your (privates), why do you want to challenge me?” Kha’s friend who tried to intervene and help could not hold him back as well.
The lift stopped at the first storey and Kha’s friend pushed him out. Kha however, refused to leave and used his foot to stop the lift doors from closing. He then turned to the victim, slapped his left cheek and pushed him. A passer-by who witnessed the altercation then helped to detain Kha at the mall’s main entrance and called the police.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Goh Yong Ngee said that for no apparent reason, Kha then punched the victim on the left temple, causing him to fall backwards and slam his left upper arm on the elevator’s handrails. On Tuesday, Kha’s lawyer Teh Ee-von told the court: “My client was in a manic episode at the time and he was not consciously aware (the victim) was a minor.
Kha was removed as the CEO of Prive Group in October last year. The Company said that it strongly condemns his actions and reassured the public that his personal actions do not in any way reflect the Company’s core values.
The judge noted that the suitability report, prepared by a psychiatrist from the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), stated that Kha suffers from bipolar disorder, a treatable mental illness. The report also said Kha has since been responding well to treatment.
He called the offences “deplorable”, noting Kha’s unprovoked attack against a vulnerable and young victim. However, Judge Lim said he was of the view that the offences “are not too heinous to rule out rehabilitation” since it is possible there was a contributory link between Kha’s bipolar disorder and his offending behaviour. For assault, Kha could have been jailed for up to two years and fined up to $5,000.