SINGAPORE: Angered by his wife's refusal to return to their matrimonial home, a man punched her repeatedly in the face and continued his assault on her when she fell to the ground and fainted.
This took place at an LRT station in Bukit Panjang, in front of their six-year-old daughter and seven-year-old son, and caused such "public disquiet" that a woman who saw the attack from her bedroom window called the police, said the prosecution.
The 35-year-old man, whose name was redacted from court documents to protect the identity of the victim, pleaded guilty on Tuesday (Nov 26) to one charge of voluntarily causing grievous hurt to his wife, and another of contravening a personal protection order that she had against him.
The court heard that the couple had been married for nine years, but were having marital issues in the days leading up to the offences, with the victim staying with her parents.
At about 10pm on Aug 26, 2018, the couple and their two young children were at Pending LRT Station, when the woman told her husband that she wanted to return to her mother's place that night.
"The accused suddenly grabbed onto the victim's hand tightly and asked that she return to their matrimonial home," said Deputy Public Prosecutor Kenneth Chin.
When the victim refused, her husband pushed her suddenly to the wall and punched her thrice on her face.
The 35-year-old woman fell backwards onto the floor and fainted.
HE STOMPED ON HER WHILE SHE WAS DOWN
Despite this, the man kicked her twice on her face and stomped on her head twice, with the woman's face starting to bleed and swell.
She tried to shout for help, but he covered her mouth with his hand.
The entire incident was witnessed by members of the public, as well as the couple's two children, who were crying and shouting for their father to stop.
A 47-year-old woman who saw the incident from the master bedroom of her nearby apartment called the police immediately after seeing the man stomp on the victim's head.
Passers-by intervened and helped the woman, but the man stood by.
As a result of the attack, the victim suffered various injuries including a fracture of her jawbone, bruising over her arm and finger and bleeding on her skull.
On top of this, the man had attacked his wife while he was subject to a personal protection order she had against him.
A BRAZEN, VICIOUS ATTACK: PROSECUTION
The prosecution asked for at least 14 months' jail, calling this a case where the man had "inflicted gratuitous violence on his wife in a public place".
"The attack was brazen, the attack was vicious, and took place in full view of his children who could only stand by helplessly and shout for him to stop," said the prosecutor.
He added that it had occurred in "a very public place" with members of the public witnessing it.
"No doubt that it caused public disquiet such that the (woman) who witnessed this from a bedroom window immediately called the police," he said.
He added that the injuries caused were serious, with fractures to the woman's upper jawbone due to "the vicious attacks on her face even while she was on the ground".
Defence lawyer Hany Soh asked for six months' jail, saying her client was truly remorseful and apologetic for the injuries caused.
The incident occurred against the backdrop of unhappiness in the marriage, with her client "aware that there was potentially another party involved" at the time.
"He was trying his best at the point in time, trying to keep the family intact," said the lawyer. "But unfortunately the victim ... indicated that she wanted to leave home."
She claimed her client had not been able to see his children since the incident.
DIVORCE INITIATED AFTER INCIDENT: DEFENCE
"He has actually been, I would say, a victim of his own circumstances subsequently as well," she said.
She said the victim initiated a divorce after the incident, a matter that has "proceeded on an uncontested basis even when it comes to division of matrimonial assets".
She said her client gave the victim the bigger share in the division of the house, and said he had cooperated with the police from the outset.
The prosecutor in response said this was "simply not true", as he had first claimed it was an accident, with his wife falling down and injuring herself.
He added that divorce proceedings are not relevant to sentencing.
The judge asked the prosecution to provide an updated medical report with more details of the injuries suffered, the treatment rendered as well as the periods of hospitalisation and medical leave.
The man will return for sentencing in January.