18 months' jail for man on the run for 8 years after stabbing colleague in the back

SINGAPORE - Unhappy with a colleague who spoke about him behind his back, a security guard came to blows with the colleague and ended up stabbing him three times in the back with a knife.

The incident took place in 2006 and resulted in the victim requiring surgery for multiple injuries.

But the security guard, Charles Isaac Santhianathan Olganathan, then 39, fled to Malaysia and remained at large for eight years until he was arrested at Kuching International Airport on May 28 this year. He was later extradited to Singapore.

On Wednesday, Charles Issac Santhianathan, a Malaysian who is now 47, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for voluntarily causing hurt to his colleague Rajan Arumugam, in what District Judge Victor Yeo called a "wholly disproportionate" act.

The court heard that on June 7, 2006, he had angrily confronted Mr Rajan, then 38, at an international school at 65 Bukit Tinggi Road, for speaking about him behind his back to his wife and supervisor.

During the fistfight that followed, Charles Isaac Santhianathan fell backwards onto a table after a punch by Mr Rajan, now 46. He picked up a 15cm-blade knife, which was on the table, and committed the offence after Mr Rajan ignored his threats and tried to walk away. Court documents did not specify how the blade came to be on the table.

Calling for a jail term at the upper end of the range of 12 to 18 months, Deputy Public Prosecutor Daphne Lim pointed out how Charles Isaac Santhianathan had remained at large for eight years in a bid to escape punishment. Resources had to be expended to find and arrest him, and his failure to turn himself in showed a lack of remorse, said Ms Lim. He had also caused serious injuries to his victim.

In mitigation, defence lawyer Pratap Kishan said his client was the sole breadwinner in a family with four school-going children, two of whom have special needs. He acknowledged his client had overreacted, but urged the court to consider that there had been a scuffle before the offence was committed.

Charles Isaac Santhianathan, who pleaded guilty, could have been jailed for up to five years, caned, and fined.