Bank director fined $4K and ordered to pay $1K to cabby he punched

A banking director was fined $4,000 and ordered to pay $1,000 compensation on Friday for assaulting a taxi driver two years ago.

Briton Mason Robert Alford, 41, admitted to punching Mr Tan Chin Huat, 58, in the face along the East Coast Park expressway on Dec 14, 2011. The court hard that Mr Tan picked up Alford, the regional head of the Asia-Pacific region for credit analysis, near Lau Pa Sat hawker centre at about 1am that day. Alford, who was reeking of alcohol, told the driver to go to Eastwood condominium in Bedok.

Along the ECP, Alford suddenly began to shout, kicked and shook the cabby's seat several times. The victim told him to calm down. Alford again began shouting again and pressed down on the victim's shoulder forcefully. He also threw several punches in the victim's direction and one landed on his left cheek.

The cabby kept telling Alford to calm down, and drove towards the direction of the police station. At the junction of Marine Parade Road and Still Road, the victim was forced to get out as Alford continued to hit him. Mr Tan tried to calm Alford down, and eventually managed to drive to the nearest police station.

Alford's lawyers asked for a mandatory treatment order which the court said was totally inappropriate.

A psychiatric report from the Institute of Mental Health said it was likely that Alford was experiencing a relapse of his recurrent depressive disorder at the time.

Alford could have been jailed for up to two years and/or fined up to $5,000.