Six weeks of hospital treatment for retiree who bashed spouse with dumb-bell

Judge orders mentally ill retiree who bashed spouse receive psychiatric treatment

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 15 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 August, 2012, 11:09am

A judge yesterday ordered six weeks' psychiatric treatment in hospital for an elderly schizophrenia sufferer who struck his wife on the head with a 2.2kg dumb-bell.

Retiree Szeto Kwong-wah, 71 - who tried to commit suicide after the attack - earlier pleaded guilty to wounding with intent his wife, Lau Yin-ling, 57.

The District Court earlier heard that Szeto hit Lau with the dumb-bell four or five times, causing her to bleed, following an argument at their home on the Lok Wah South Estate in Ngau Tau Kok on February 22.

"You have been married for over 30 years and you have a 31-year-old son," Deputy Judge Ernest Lin Kam-hung said as he sentenced Szeto. "This is a family tragedy."

The judge said the offence was serious and under normal circumstances would have warranted a jail term. But considering the background, he ordered treatment.

He made his decision after reading two psychological reports that confirmed Szeto was a long-term schizophrenia sufferer and had experienced psychosis and depression.

Both suggested six months of psychiatric treatment as a sentence.

The court heard earlier that Szeto had been diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2002 but had stopped taking his medication before the attack.

When police questioned him he said he had become angry after the argument. He regretted what he had done and had attempted suicide by drinking bleach and cutting himself.

His wife was in hospital for seven weeks after the attack but she and her son had forgiven Szeto, the court was told.