SCMP Wednesday, September 19, 2001

Punished pupil 'was a devil'


A former student who says his headmaster hastened the onset of his schizophrenia by making him do homework outside the main office for more than a week thought he was a devil and heard voices during his ordeal, a court heard yesterday.
The 22-year-old man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was testifying about the punishment handed out by headmaster Stephen Kan Ki-leung in April 1997 at Methodist College, Sha Tin.
He is suing the school and the headmaster, saying his punishment went on for eight or nine days. The defence says it was five or six days.
The hearing is to determine whether the headmaster and school are liable for damages.
The man, who was 17 at the time, was being reprimanded for arriving late to school and failing to turn in his homework.
Counsel representing him, Ruy Barretto, SC, read from his client's witness statement in which he said that during the first week of his punishment, he began to feel humiliated while visualising classmates laughing at him.
"I was a devil and would remain a devil until I did my homework," the statement said.
The ex-student told the court that, during the punishment, he also began hearing voices.
The hearing continues in the Court of First Instance today.