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Construction worker jailed for attacking another worker in dorm with fire extinguisher

Construction worker jailed for attacking another worker in dorm with fire extinguisher

File photo of the State Courts in Singapore (Photo: Jeremy Long)

SINGAPORE: A construction worker who attacked another worker with a fire extinguisher in a dormitory after a dispute was sentenced on Thursday (Oct 1) to three months' jail.

Shanmugadaiyar Thandapani, 44, pleaded guilty to voluntarily causing hurt ​​​​​​​by dangerous weapon to a dorm-mate almost 20 years his junior at a dormitory in Ubi in July.

The court heard that both men were construction workers from India, staying in the dorm at Block 57, Ubi Crescent.

At about 10pm on Jul 30, Shanmugadaiyar was eating in the room that he shared with several others, when the victim entered to visit his friend.

Shanmugadaiyar was unhappy and asked the victim why he went to his room. The victim responded by saying that anyone was free to do so. 

At this, Shanmugadaiyar took out his phone to take a photo of the victim, and a scuffle ensued despite other bunkmates' efforts to break it up.

During the tussle, Shanmugadaiyar tried to swing a chair at the victim and hit him with a wooden chest, but was stopped by his bunkmates.

When the victim walked out of the room, Shanmugadaiyar followed him.

He then took a fire extinguisher from a staircase landing and hit the victim on the back of his neck, causing him to fall face-first to the ground.

The victim fainted and bled from his eyebrow and lips.

A police report was made and the victim was diagnosed with lacerations on his eyebrow and lip, with swelling over his eye area.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Benedict Teong asked for at least three months' jail, noting that Shanmugadaiyar had no previous convictions.

However, he said the fire extinguisher weighed 2kg and Shanmugadaiyar was persistent in trying to hit the victim. Eventually, he hit the victim on the back of the neck, which is a vulnerable region, added Mr Teong.

Shanmugadaiyar cried during his mitigation, which was given through a Tamil interpreter.

He said: "Your Honour, I am pleading for your leniency. This COVID-19 situation has changed my life. The victim and I had a misunderstanding and it ensued into a scuffle ... I admit what I did was wrong."

He said he was remorseful and regrets what he did.

"I have been working in Singapore for the past 10 years and this is my first brush with the law," he said. "I wish to go back to India as soon as possible. My parents are ill and are hospitalised. I am the sole breadwinner of my family."

The judge backdated the jail term to Aug 1, when Shanmugadaiyar was first remanded.

For voluntarily causing hurt by a dangerous weapon, Shanmugadaiyar could have been jailed for up to seven years, fined, caned, or given any combination of those penalties.

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Source: CNA/ll


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