Tour guide who pulled turban off Sikh's head in fight given mandatory treatment order

Tour guide who pulled turban off Sikh's head in fight given mandatory treatment order

gavel file 2
A courtroom gavel. (Photo: AFP)

SINGAPORE: A tour guide who attacked a Sikh pedestrian for no apparent reason and pulled the turban off the man's head was on Thursday (Dec 20) ordered to undergo 18 months of psychiatric treatment under a mandatory treatment order.

Gan Kian Seng, 46, who suffers from schizophrenia, had pleaded guilty to one count each of using criminal force and voluntarily causing hurt to Mr Saranpal Singh Bhaliwal Peram Singh, 30.

Another charge of uttering words to deliberately wound the victim's racial feelings was taken into consideration.

A mandatory treatment order directs an offender to undergo psychiatric treatment - in lieu of jail time - for no more than two years. It is ordered upon recommendation by an appointed psychiatrist at the Institute of Mental Health.

FIGHT HAPPENED AFTER GAN HAD DRINKS AT PUB

On Apr 23, Gan visited a pub on Maude Road in Jalan Besar at 7pm and had some alcoholic drinks. He left at 8.20pm. 

While he was crossing a traffic junction at 8.40pm, he started speaking to and gesturing to an unknown pedestrian. After he reached the other side, Gan confronted the pedestrian and pushed him.

He then turned on Mr Singh - who was standing by the road and faced away from Gan - and pushed him.

Gan began gesturing at Mr Singh before pulling his turban off his head and dropping it on the ground. He also pulled Mr Singh's hair.

A fight ensued, where Gan slapped Mr Singh on the face, and Mr Singh retaliated with a few punches. Gan punched and kicked Mr Singh in return, uttering racial slurs at him.

A crowd had gathered at that point, and a bystander called the police, saying that two people were fighting outside a hotel.

ACCUSED SUFFERS FROM SCHIZOPHRENIA

Gan was suffering from schizophrenia, according to a psychiatric report, and this had a causal link to the offences, the court heard.

Gan had also written a letter of apology to Mr Singh.

District Judge May Mesenas on Thursday asked Gan if he was prepared to comply with the conditions of the recommended mandatory treatment order, by taking his medication regularly and agreeing to be monitored. Gan agreed.

"If you do not comply, you can be brought back to court and sentenced to possible incarceration," the judge said. "This is your chance to take this court order seriously."

For using criminal force, Gan could have been jailed for up to three months, fined up to S$1,500, or both. 

He could have been jailed for up to two years, fined a maximum S$5,000, or both for voluntarily causing hurt.

These sentences could have been enhanced by up to one-and-a-half times, as the offences were racially aggravated.

Source: CNA/ll(aj)

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