Briton jailed 2 months for hitting, biting cabby

Jeremy Chong Jia Jian, who is unemployed, was sentenced to three years' jail and four strokes of the cane after pleading guilty to one count of voluntarily causing grievous hurt.
Jeremy Chong Jia Jian, who is unemployed, was sentenced to three years' jail and four strokes of the cane after pleading guilty to one count of voluntarily causing grievous hurt. PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

A British tourist who punched a taxi driver and then bit his head after his 34-year-old son's fingers got caught in a window being wound up was jailed for two months yesterday.

James O'Kane, 61, who had worked 27 years as a firefighter, had been drinking in Clarke Quay before the 5.20am incident at the taxi stand near Tan Tye Place on Sept 19.

He was also ordered to pay compensation of $1,250 to Mr Kamis Ismail for his medical bills and loss of income for three days.

O'Kane, who was unrepresented, pleaded guilty to punching the cabby, 52, in the face several times and biting the top of his head.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Yang Ziliang said O'Kane's son had approached Mr Kamis' taxi at the stand and spoken to the cabby through the partially wound-down left passenger window.

After Mr Kamis agreed to take them to Sophia Road, the younger O'Kane tried to get in but the fingers of his right hand became trapped as the window was being wound up. He punched it repeatedly with his left hand, smashing it.

After telling his father what had happened, O'Kane entered the taxi through the open front passenger door. He put the driver in a headlock before punching him. Mr Kamis tried to block the blows but O'Kane bit his head before someone pulled the cabby out of the car.

O'Kane continued behaving aggressively and pushed the victim at least twice before passers-by intervened. The victim then flagged down a police patrol vehicle.

O'Kane's son was given a stern warning last Friday for mischief. He voluntarily compensated ComfortDelGro to the tune of $481.

DPP Yang said the attack was "unprovoked, unsolicited and uncalled for". It was fortuitous more serious injuries did not result from the attack. The driver also suffered emotional trauma and now avoids picking up Caucasian passengers.

O'Kane apologised to the victim. He could have been jailed for up to two years and/or fined up to $5,000 for voluntarily causing hurt.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 14, 2015, with the headline 'Briton jailed 2 months for hitting, biting cabby'. Print Edition | Subscribe