Engineer charged with killing girlfriend ‘suffering from depression’


GEORGE TOWN: A psychiatrist told the High Court here today that an engineer, Cheong Teik Keon, 34, who is charged with having murdered his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day three years ago, is suffering from depression.

Suaran Singh Jasmit Singh, 63, from Bahagia Hospital in Tanjung Rambutan, said based on his assessment of Cheong, the man was found to be suffering from “Major Depressive Disorder”.

“I’m also in the opinion that at the time of the incident, the accused was in a state of temporary insanity,” he testified as defence witness in Cheong’s murder trial here Monday.

“At the said time, the accused had impaired judgment and as a result of which, he was incapable of telling right from wrong in the sense that he did not know that his subsequent actions of killing the deceased was wrong or contrary to law.”

On May 6, the High Court ordered the engineer to enter his defence after finding that the prosecution had made out a prima facie case against him.

Cheong was charged with having murdered Tan Ching Chin, 24, a clerk, at her home at Taman Hwa Seng, Jalan Roshan, Alma, here at 8.40am on Feb 14, 2013.

The charge under Section 302 of the Penal Code carries a mandatory death penalty upon conviction.

Meanwhile, during cross examination, the psychiatrist disagreed with the suggestion by Deputy Public Prosecutor Lim Cheah Yit that three factors that could have led to Cheong’s depression were being in prison, losing his loved one and facing a serious charge.

The witness also admitted that he began to make mental evaluation of the accused on Aug 9, 2014, about a year and six months after the murder.

The court set June 1 to hear submissions on the case.

Cheong was represented by lawyers Ram Karpal Singh and Mohamad Arif Shaharuddin.