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Man fined for punching, kicking pregnant girlfriend in the abdomen during dispute over pregnancy

Man fined for punching, kicking pregnant girlfriend in the abdomen during dispute over pregnancy

Shawn Tan Jia Jun (right) outside the State Courts on Oct 25, 2021. (Photo: Nuria Ling/TODAY)

SINGAPORE: A few days after a visit to the clinic confirmed that his girlfriend was nine weeks pregnant, a man got into a dispute with her when discussing the pregnancy and assaulted her abdominal area.

Shawn Tan Jia Jun, 24, was sentenced to a fine of S$3,500 on Monday (Oct 25) after pleading guilty to one count of voluntarily causing hurt.

The foetus was fine after the attack, but his girlfriend later aborted it. The couple intend to marry by the end of the year, the court heard, with the judge finding that this establishes the victim's forgiveness of the accused.

The court heard that Tan and his girlfriend, who is also 24, visited a clinic on Jul 10 last year for a pregnancy test. 

The doctor told them that the victim was nine weeks pregnant, and asked if she wanted to continue her pregnancy or abort the child. She was told to decide by Jul 17 as there could be further risks of medical complications.

On Jul 14, the victim visited Tan and stayed overnight. The next day, they got into a dispute when discussing the pregnancy. Both Tan and the victim shouted at each other, and Tan pushed the victim onto the bed before punching and kicking her abdominal area multiple times.

The commotion was heard by Tan's mother, who stopped the dispute. The victim then called a friend who accompanied her out of the flat. 

Later that day, the victim sought treatment at the emergency department of a hospital complaining of facial pain, and bruises over her limbs. She was diagnosed with a facial contusion and redness over her face, and later discharged with a day's medical leave.

A bedside ultrasound performed on the victim found that the foetus had an active heartbeat.

The victim lodged a police report over the assault, but later tried to have the charge withdrawn.

DEFENCE CITES CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING INCIDENT

Defence lawyer Terence Yeo asked for a fine, citing the "minor injuries" suffered by the victim, the short duration of the altercation and the circumstances surrounding the incident.

Addressing the "elephant in the room", he said the victim has since aborted the baby. He said this was not a case where his client had a clear intention to hurt or injure the victim.

The judge noted that the victim's intention to marry the accused by the end of the year is "the most obvious form of forgiveness".

She agreed with the prosecutor that the acts could have harmed not only the victim but the unborn baby, but noted that this was Tan's first offence and that there were "some mitigating factors".

"It's a domestic dispute, yes, but it's probably over the pregnancy in which a decision had to be made in a very short period of time," said the judge.

"What stands out to me is the victim did probably accept that he did not intentionally harm her in the vicious sense ... it arose spontaneously out of the dispute," she added.

For voluntarily causing hurt, Tan could have been jailed up to three years, fined up to S$5,000, or both.

Source: CNA/ll(zl)

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