SINGAPORE - A 54-year-old baker hit a colleague 24 times with a metal rod, causing bruises on his heart and a kneecap fracture was jailed for a month on Monday (March 21).
Chelladurai Nadarajan pleaded guilty to a charge of causing hurt on grave and sudden provocation, which carries a maximum penalty of three months' jail and a $2,500 fine.
He was working at Sweetleaf Bakery And Deli, located at Block 539 Bedok North Street 3, at about 3am on Nov 29 last year when a work-related dispute broke out between him and another baker, Mr Wang Git Han, 48. Both men are Malaysians.
Mr Wang started to hurl vulgarities at Chelladurai and provocatively gestured at him for about five minutes, a district court heard. He then challenged Chelladurai to a fight, but the former ignored him and continued with his work.
But Mr Wang continued to act aggressively and made a racial slur, which was targeted at Chelladurai's Chinese mother, who had died recently.
Enraged, Chelladurai took a 70cm-long metal rod, which was used in the bakery to remove items out of the oven, and hit Mr Wang on his head.
Mr Wang fell to the floor, but Chelladurai continued to hit him with the rod. Chelladurai also kicked Mr Wang.
A sales executive who was there removed the rod and called for an ambulance.
Mr Wang had bruising on his heart muscle, a kneecap fracture, a 7cm cut to his forehead, and abrasions on his chest and knee. He was given 27 days of hospitalisation leave.
Chelladurai has paid $2,300 to the victim as compensation for his medical fees.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Sivabalan Thanabal asked for a jail term of between one and three months. He noted that a dangerous weapon had been used in the prolonged assault.
"The length of the attack and the number of hits is testament to the viciousness of the accused in meting out as much harm as he could inflict. It is fortuitous that the victim did not suffer any long-term injuries," he said.
"A strong public message needs to be sent that violence, whatever the context and reasons, should not be tolerated in any civil society," he added.
In mitigation, Chelladurai's lawyer Cheng Kim Kuan said his client's actions were "a result of a loss of self-control".
Chelladurai had been saddened by his mother's death and did not sleep well, the lawyer said.
"Sometimes words can be more enraging than physical altercation," Mr Cheng added.
He asked for a fine or a jail term not longer than a month.
In passing sentence, District Judge Kessler Soh said the number of times Chelladurai hit Mr Wang was "excessive".
But the judge noted that Chelladurai had shown remorse, paid for Mr Wang's medical expenses and also pleaded guilty.