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Cyclist jailed for punching man who filmed him assaulting a pedestrian

Cyclist jailed for punching man who filmed him assaulting a pedestrian

File photo of a bicycle in Singapore. (Photo: iStock)

SINGAPORE: A cyclist was on Tuesday (May 17) jailed five months for punching a passerby who filmed him assaulting another pedestrian.

Sivakarthik Bernard, 28, pleaded guilty to one charge of voluntarily causing grievous hurt. Two other charges of voluntarily causing hurt and harassment were considered for sentencing.

The victim, a 56-year-old man, suffered a fracture to his eye socket, a haemorrhage in his eye and a facial laceration from the assault.

The court heard that on Jul 22 last year at about 6.45pm, Sivakarthik was cycling on a pavement near Block 96A Henderson Road.

He was behind a 63-year-old man who was walking while listening to a voice message on the phone.

Sivakarthik rang his bicycle bell but failed to get the man's attention. He then narrowly squeezed past on his bicycle.

The pedestrian shouted at Sivakarthik and both men got into an argument, each using vulgarities while accusing the other of inconsiderate behaviour.

As the argument grew heated, Sivakarthik showed his fist to the man, who asked if Sivakarthik wanted to punch him.

Sivakarthik punched the pedestrian on the forehead, causing him to fall. He continued punching his head and also landed two hard kicks on the man's backpack.

The victim and another passerby witnessed this attack. While the other passerby intervened to separate them, the victim started recording a video of them on his phone.

Sivakarthik asked the victim why he was recording a video, and the victim replied: "Why, what you want?"

Angered, Sivakarthik punched the victim in the face, causing him to fall. He continued to punch the victim on the head at least twice more, only stopping when he saw that the man's face was bleeding.

The victim covered his head with his hands to shield himself from Sivakarthik's blows, and did not retaliate during the assault.

He was taken to a hospital and another passerby called the police, who arrested Sivakarthik that evening.

The prosecution sought six to seven months' jail for Sivakarthik, highlighting that the eye was an especially vulnerable part of the face and that the victim's injury could have resulted in impaired vision.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Etsuko Lim said that the assault was unprovoked, and that Sivakarthik had assaulted two strangers in the span of "mere minutes".

She also argued that, similar to cases of road rage, there was a need to deter other offenders as Sivakarthik's violence "stemmed from differences arising from the shared use of a public space" by pedestrians and cyclists.

In sentencing, the judge also ordered Sivakarthik to compensate the two men he assaulted for their hospital bills, which came up to a total of about S$1,017.

Source: CNA/dv(zl)


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