Shorter jail term if court was told earlier victim had no nose fracture: Judge www.singaporelawwatch.sg
Close

HEADLINES

Headlines published in the last 30 days are listed on SLW.

Shorter jail term if court was told earlier victim had no nose fracture: Judge

Shorter jail term if court was told earlier victim had no nose fracture: Judge

Source: Straits Times
Article Date: 20 May 2020
Author: K.C. Vijayan

The only recourse, he said, is for the husband's lawyer to file a criminal revision to the High Court to rectify the charge, a move that would pave the way for the sentence to be amended.

A judge, who jailed an alcoholic husband for six months and two weeks for fracturing his wife's nose, said the jail term would have been no more than three months if the court had been told earlier that there was no nose fracture.

But District Judge Marvin Bay said the corrected report "was only made known to me some two working days after the accused had been sentenced".

As a result, he could not exercise the powers provided under Section 301 of the Criminal Procedure Code, he added.

The law he cited allows a court to rectify clerical errors any time, but an error in the exercise of its sentencing powers must be done the next working day following the judgment.

The only recourse, he said, is for the husband's lawyer to file a criminal revision to the High Court to rectify the charge, a move that would pave the way for the sentence to be amended.

As the wife did not suffer a nose fracture, the charge should have been causing simple, not grievous, hurt. "Given the circumstances, I would be inclined to support counsel's application for a criminal revision," the judge said in decision grounds last month.

On Feb 20, Melis Hendrikus Dirk Maria, a 36-year-old Dutchman, pleaded guilty to several charges, the most serious of which was punching his wife Elianna Kathleen Grace, 38, "multiple times on her face, head and jaws, causing her to suffer a nasal bone fracture".

But Dr Diana Vano Raro of Tan Tock Seng Hospital, who had issued the medical report then, subsequently sent a report to defence counsel R. Magendran, saying facial bone X-rays showed no fracture.

On Feb 27, a senior consultant of the hospital, in responding to the Attorney-General's Chambers, provided written context to the reports and apologised to the court for any confusion caused by the initial report and the subsequent clarification.

The following month, Melis, who is jobless, filed an amended appeal against the jail term.

He was jailed for assaulting his wife at home on Sept 20 last year, after some noises woke him up at about 8.30pm. He had consumed alcohol in the afternoon.

He also admitted to two other charges - using criminal force on a police officer who arrived at their home at around 9.40pm and for shouting vulgarities at another police officer who arrested him.

Five other charges were taken into consideration at sentencing.

Four involved theft of alcoholic beverages and a fifth, for abusing a female police officer who went to the home.

District Judge Bay, in sentencing Melis, noted that he was an individual of muscular build who threw a series of punches at his petite wife.

In January last year, Melis was convicted of similar offences.

He was jailed for three weeks, fined $4,500 and disqualified from driving for four years for various offences, which included causing hurt to a person who was filming his erratic driving.

The judge, in his decision grounds, said it was imperative for doctors "to communicate any misdiagnosis or error in a medical report immediately, and to all concerned parties in the proceedings".

He noted that the wife had expressed reservations about her injury but the investigating officer was "satisfied" with the doctor's report.

The husband's lawyer then pursued the matter with the hospital, which communicated exclusively with the law firm.

The prosecution was not kept in the loop, the judge noted.

He suggested "that all parties in criminal proceedings be 'kept in the loop' on all developments where clarifications or fresh reports are sought".

He added: "This would keep all eyes open, and alive to the possibility of any pending developments which might make it impracticable for a scheduled hearing to proceed."

Melis is out on bail.

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

Print
2218

Theme picker

Latest Headlines

No content

A problem occurred while loading content.

Previous Next
Tech Law Fest 2020

Terms Of UsePrivacy StatementCopyright 2020 by Singapore Academy of Law
Back To Top