SINGAPORE: A young man who was asked by a fellow moviegoer to stop shaking his leg in the cinema later attacked the man who made the request, as well as the victim's wife.
For one charge of voluntarily causing hurt to the victim, 23-year-old Clifton Wong Jun Han was given a day's jail and a fine of S$3,000 on Tuesday (Dec 3).
A second charge of hurting the victim’s wife was taken into consideration.
The court heard that Wong had gone with his wife to Shaw Theatres at Seletar Mall in Sengkang on the evening of Aug 1 this year to watch a movie.
They sat in the cinema next to the victim and the victim's wife.
Sometime during the film, Wong began shaking his leg continuously, disturbing the victim and his wife, who could feel their seats moving. The victim told Wong to refrain from shaking his leg continuously, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Kevin Ho.
The two couples finished watching the movie and Wong stood up from his seat to leave. As he did, he accidentally tripped and stepped on the victim's foot, but the latter did not say anything.
Wong turned and cursed at the victim, but the latter again ignored him.
Wong then confronted the victim and punched him repeatedly in the face. The victim raised his hand to block the onslaught, and his wife tried to stop Wong, but Wong began punching her arms as well.
The aggressor was restrained by his own wife and other people at the scene, and security officers intervened shortly after.
The police received a call at 5.52pm with a person reporting: "We are watching movie. One guy about 30s beat up the auntie and uncle. Quite bad. Both auntie and uncle are injured. You all have to come down."
The victim and his wife went to Sengkang General Hospital for treatment, and a report found that he had suffered bruising over his head and eye, while his wife had a bruise over her forearm.
The prosecutor asked for a short jail term, leaving the length to the court. He highlighted five aggravating factors including the brazen and prolonged manner of the assault.
WONG UNDER STRESS, SNAPPED: DEFENCE
Defence lawyer Gino Hardial Singh asked instead for the maximum S$5,000 fine, saying that his client was a fireman with Changi Airport Group and had no previous convictions.
While he said Wong's actions were not excusable, his wife was three months pregnant at the time, and the couple had been experiencing "considerable stress" as his wife had bouts of heavy bleeding.
"That gave rise to a concern that there was a possibility that the kid would have Down Syndrome," said Mr Singh.
He added that Wong had just quit smoking at the time and was suffering from withdrawal symptoms.
"For some reason he himself is unable to explain, he just snapped," said the lawyer, adding that it was out of character and happened in the spur of the moment.
He said Wong had made voluntary compensation to the victims and that no fractures or serious harm had been caused.
District Judge Chay Yuen Fatt agreed with the prosecution that there were enough aggravating factors to impose a custodial or short jail term.
"As highlighted by the prosecution, this was anti-social behaviour. The accused became vulgar, violent, and not only attacked the victim but also turned on the victim's wife," said the judge, noting the multiple punches on both of them.
For voluntarily causing hurt, Wong could have been jailed for up to two years, fined S$5,000, or both.