20 July 2018
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Criminal law, procedure & sentencing feed-image   

Jail for headbutting ambulance driver

Straits Times
09 Jul 2018
K.C. Vijayan

A motorist who headbutted an ambulance driver in a spat at Tan Tock Seng Hospital and used his forehead to push an accompanying nursing officer's forehead was given four months' jail - in a case where the judge described his behaviour as despicable.

Sim Kwang Wee, 53, admitted to causing hurt, pain and injury in using his forehead to hit Mr Thomas Charles, 64, on the forehead.

The incident happened at 4.30pm on Dec 14, 2016, at the emergency ambulance drop-off point fronting the hospital's emergency department.

Sim had also used his forehead to push the accompanying officer, Mr Charles Gabriel, 29. He did this because he was unhappy that Mr Gabriel had used his handphone camera to film him. This second charge was taken into consideration for sentencing.

Sim had assaulted the two men when they were trying to unload an 82-year-old suspected stroke patient from the ambulance, noted District Judge Ng Peng Hong in decision grounds released late last month.

During the court case, it emerged that the rear door of the ambulance could not be opened because Sim's vehicle was in the way.

The private-hire driver had earlier helped ferry an injured domestic worker for treatment at TTSH.

When Sim was asked to give way, he refused and the spat followed.

Mr Charles eventually drove to another drop-off point some 20m away. He later received outpatient treatment at the hospital.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Kong Kuek Foo called for a deterrent jail term, given that the ambulance service workers were performing a critical public function and any violence against them cannot be condoned.

Sim's lawyer John Koh pleaded for leniency and urged the court to impose a fine, arguing that Sim lost his temper and composure.

District Judge Ng rued Sim's "outrageous and despicable behaviour", noting the assault occurred in a public hospital in broad daylight and in public view. "It would cause alarm and disquiet to the public," added the judge.

He sentenced Sim to four months' jail to "send a clear signal of disapproval and reprobation over (Sim's) conduct, as well as to deter like-minded offenders".

Sim is appealing against the decision.

Source: Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Permission required for reproduction.