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Tourist jailed for biting police officer after causing ruckus at Lucky Plaza on Christmas Day

Tourist jailed for biting police officer after causing ruckus at Lucky Plaza on Christmas Day

Screengrab from Google Street View showing the McDonald's at Lucky Plaza along Orchard Road.

SINGAPORE: An Australian student was sentenced to seven months and five days' jail on Friday (Mar 1) after she got drunk and caused a ruckus at Orchard Road while on holiday in Singapore last year. 

Ashton Jane Holloway, 25, had pleaded guilty to three charges of behaving in a disorderly manner, hurting a police officer and using abusive words towards the police. 

As her parents did not want to post bail for her, Holloway was in remand since Jan 19. 

The court heard that Holloway had gotten drunk on the night of Christmas Day 2018 and was disturbing customers at the McDonald's restaurant at Lucky Plaza at about 8.30pm, scolding them and kicking tables.

A McDonald's employee called the police and two officers arrived at the scene, joining two others who were already trying to speak to Holloway.

When they asked her to step out of the restaurant, Holloway refused to comply, Deputy Public Prosecutor Amanda Han said.

Instead, she repeatedly asked them "why" and told them "no". When the police asked her for her particulars, she rushed out of the McDonald's.

The officers followed her closely, trying to reason with her. She continued questioning them loudly and tried to use her phone to film them.

ACCUSED CURSED POLICE OFFICERS AND RESISTED ARREST

When an officer took her phone away from her, Holloway shouted: "Give me my f****** phone."

She was returned her phone and continued filming the officers, one of whom then decided to arrest her. However, she shouted "don't you f****** dare" and bickered loudly with the officers, her sentences laden with expletives.

The 10-minute exchange was captured on footage by body cameras worn by the police and played in court on Friday.

When she was taken to the police car, Holloway kicked the vehicle and used her legs to resist entering. In the car, she continued screaming, while the police officers could be heard saying "she kicked me also" and "just now also kena kicked". 

As the car went along Orchard Road, Holloway became violent and tried to kick an officer, who told his colleagues in Mandarin that he had no more strength left.

Holloway managed to unbuckle her seatbelt and leaned towards another officer, biting her right forearm before kicking her arms and head.

The bitten officer was taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital with bruises on both her arms.

The prosecution had asked for more than seven months' jail to be imposed, saying that it was of critical importance that the safety of police and law enforcement officers be protected.

"There was a clear escalation in the extent of her rowdiness - from shouting incoherently to the repeated use of vulgarities, and subsequently even false allegations and physical resistance," said the prosecutor.

In response, defence counsel Amarick Gill asked for slightly more than five months' jail, saying that his client was "not in any fashion or form making any excuses for her behaviour".

"REMEMBER WHAT YOU DID TO YOURSELF": JUDGE

Turning to Holloway, who was red-faced and crying in the dock, District Judge Mathew Joseph said that her actions were "quite breath-taking and astonishing".

"A young lady like yourself can cause so much havoc, taking the combined efforts of three, four police officers to try and get you to cooperate with them, (but) you seem determined not to cooperate," he said.

"This was Christmas Day. It was supposed to be a time of happiness and people were going about on a joyous occasion, but you were quite determined to do the opposite."

The judge then asked Holloway to address him.

Appearing taken aback, Holloway took a few moments to gather herself before saying: "I was just feeling upset and went out to have a few drinks."

"I'm mortified at this tape being played. I'm deeply embarrassed," she said, adding that she was sorry and remorseful.

The judge said she had to face the consequences for her disregard for the law, and pointed out that her own parents had decided not to post bail for her and instead let her spend time in remand.

"I hope that time has caused you to reflect and contemplate," he said. "I hope when you go back to Australia, you will remember what you did to yourself on Christmas Day 2018."

The judge agreed to the defence counsel's request for Holloway to spend 10 minutes with her parents, who were in court and are flying home on Monday.

Source: CNA/ll(hs)

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