Daughter of Hour Glass founders jailed for drug abuse

Audrey Tay May Li, 45, daughter of the couple who founded luxury watch retailer The Hour Glass, was sentenced to jail for 22 months yesterday (Oct 11) for repeatedly abusing drugs over two years.

She was also disqualified from driving for 18 months and fined $1,000 for driving without due care and attention.

According to The Straits Times, she pleaded guilty on Aug 27 to the three drug charges and the driving charge.

Five other drug-related charges were taken into consideration during sentencing.

In August 2015, she was arrested after knocking over a traffic light pole while driving under the influence of the drug ketamine.

Tay was out on bail in October 2018 when she reoffended and turned up intoxicated for a psychiatric assessment at the Institute of Mental Health.

Defence counsel Eugene Thuraisingam argued for Tay to be given probation in lieu of an imprisonment term of two years and two months sought by the prosecution.

Mr Thuraisingam said Tay, the eldest daughter of Ms Jannie Chan, 72, and Dr Henry Tay, 73, suffered when they divorced in 2010 and that substance abuse was a form of "self medication to escape from the stresses of her life."

According to court papers, Tay herself is a divorcee with three children, but she had her elder daughter taken away from her in 2014 by her ex-husband.

Tay suffered from "overwhelming pain and despair from her elder daughter rejecting her", said Mr Thuraisingam.

She developed psychiatric issues, as a result, and was later found to be suffering from adjustment disorder with depressed mood and anxiety, and from substance abuse disorder.

These circumstances "exacerbated her mood... and led her to recklessly take the substance", said Mr Thuraisingam.

However, Terence Chua, Deputy Public Prosecutor said Tay's case was not exceptional enough to warrant probation.

He argued that deterrence is usually the dominant consideration for drug offences and a custodial term is usually warranted, except in exceptional cases.

DPP Chua said: "Despite the accused's background, the case is completely ordinary, in terms of the type of conviction, the reasons for consumption and the accidents that occurred."

"Her ability to make conscious choices is not impaired," said District Judge Shaifuddin Saruwan in sentencing.

Tay will be appealing against the sentence and is currently out on bail of $80,000.

Read the full story at The Straits Times.

The Straits Times

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