Bystander implicated in police chase gets probation for pushing, cursing officers

Bystander implicated in police chase gets probation for pushing, cursing officers

Stamford road
Screengrab from Google Street View of Stamford Road, near Singapore Management University.

SINGAPORE: A 24-year-old woman who was waiting for a taxi along Stamford Road last year pushed and cursed at the police after she was stopped for looking "flushed" by officers chasing two unrelated suspects in the vicinity.

For using abusive words against a public servant and for pushing a police officer, Evonne Keak Yan Ting was sentenced to 12 months' probation on Tuesday (Jun 18).

The court heard that three police officers were patrolling Hill Street past midnight on Jul 4 last year when they saw a couple riding an electric scooter.

They stopped their patrol car to conduct a routine check and alighted from the vehicle, but the couple fled.

The three officers, comprising two sergeants and a staff sergeant, gave chase but lost sight of the couple near Singapore Management University's Li Ka Shing Library.

The staff sergeant proceeded to fetch the patrol car while his colleagues continued looking for the couple on foot. On his way to the car, the staff sergeant saw Keak leaning against a pillar along Stamford Road, looking at her phone.

He approached her as she "looked very flushed and appeared to have just finished a run", said the prosecution.

Keak ignored the police officer and tried to walk away. The officer called his colleagues for back up and continued to speak to Keak.

When all three officers were at the scene, they tried to engage Keak, but she did not comply and kept walking away.

When Keak tried to cross the road, one of the officers held onto her and she used both hands to push the officer away.

Keak was placed under arrest and escorted to the police car. While getting in and on the way to police lock-up, Keak cursed and said: "Your attitude is like s***" and "You tell me for f*** lah, I'm under arrest for what!"

WOMAN WANTED TO TAKE CAB HOME: DEFENCE

Keak's lawyer Josephus Tan, who was acting pro bono, told the court that she was drunk at the time and was walking away as she wanted to take a cab home after drinking alone.

She had crossed the road to get a cab, he said.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Lim Ying Min asked for four weeks' jail, saying that Keak was 23 years old when she committed the offence and had hurled vulgarities at two public servants.

Mr Tan asked instead for probation, telling the court that Keak had given "one shove on the chest" and "did not show any signs of evading arrest".

"This case is a very peculiar one," he said. "My client was not part of the initial investigation."

District Judge Tan Jen Tse said he was acutely aware that there should be deterrent sentences for criminal offences against public servants, but that there were "several distinguishing factors in this case".

Keak did not show any signs of disorderly behaviour while drunk, he said, and in reality, "there was nothing for the accused to flee from as she had committed no offence".

"The Statement of Facts (SOF) did not set out any basis for stopping or arresting her. SOF did not state whether she was doing anything wrong, there was no duty to cooperate," said the judge. 

Keak's push was "precipitated by the officer holding her" as she tried to cross the road, the judge said, adding that her actions had been "directed at the officers' acts of arresting her and less so at them personally".

Keak's father furnished a bond of S$5,000 to ensure her good behaviour during her probation. On top of the probation, she also has to perform 80 hours of community service.

The prosecution said it may appeal against the sentence.

Source: CNA/ll(aj)

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