Attack on cabby #1: Man in fare spat jailed 4 weeks

Nantakumar V. Ramachandra punched the cabby in the left corner of his lower lip when he asked for his fare. The driver passed out and regained consciousness shortly after.
Nantakumar V. Ramachandra punched the cabby in the left corner of his lower lip when he asked for his fare. The driver passed out and regained consciousness shortly after.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

A commodity trader who was found guilty of punching a taxi driver in his face was sentenced to four weeks' jail yesterday.

Nantakumar V. Ramachandra, 42, was convicted last Friday of causing hurt to Mr Lim Sin Eng, 58, at Mayfair Gardens condominium in Rifle Range Road at 5.35am on May 5, 2015.

Mr Lim had testified that Nantakumar punched him once in the left corner of his lower lip when he asked for his fare at the carpark of the condominium in Bukit Timah. The cabby passed out and regained consciousness shortly after.

When Mr Lim saw Nantakumar about to leave the condominium, he tried to give chase but a security guard stopped him.

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A resident of the condominium witnessed the attack. He said he was roused from his sleep by the sound of an idling car engine. When he looked out the window, he saw that there was an argument. A male passenger, whom he recognised as his neighbour, and the cabby came out of the vehicle.

The passenger went over and punched the taxi driver, who fell and did not get up, the witness said.

Nantakumar's version was that the cabby became unhappy when he had only a $100 bill for the $15 fare. The accused claimed that when he wanted to go to a petrol kiosk outside to get change, Mr Lim became aggressive and accused him of trying to evade paying the fare.

Nantakumar said Mr Lim grabbed him by the right shoulder area very tightly. He said he could not breathe and broke free by raising his hands. He claimed Mr Lim then slipped and fell forward onto the ground.

Nantakumar, who has made $1,000 compensation to Mr Lim, was allowed to defer his sentence to Aug 11 to settle work-related and personal matters.

He has previous convictions for using abusive language, causing hurt to a public servant and abetment of cheating.

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

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 14, 2017, with the headline 'Attack on cabby #1: Man in fare spat jailed 4 weeks'. Print Edition | Subscribe