Ex-cabby jailed for hurting man in a wheelchair, ordered to pay compensation

SINGAPORE - A former taxi driver was jailed for two weeks for causing hurt to a man in a wheelchair.

Jit Singh 60, was also ordered to pay $500 compensation to Mr Ng Eng Gee after he admitted to deliberately grabbing the 51-year-old's wheelchair and forcefully tipping it over. This caused Mr Ng to fall onto the ground and suffer abrasions to his left wrist. The incident took place at Upper Aljunied Road on Dec 24, 2012.

The court heard that the victim, who has been suffering from cerebral palsy since he was three months old, saw the ComfortDelGro Mercedes-Benz parked illegally and obstructing a coffeeshop driveway that morning.

He called the Land Transport Authority and an enforcement officer came and issued a summons. Jit Singh drove off after finding out that it was the victim who had reported on him.

He returned about 45 minutes later, and pulled up his taxi along the road. He rushed towards the victim who was making his way home.

Fearing for his safety, Mr Ng tried to escape by accelerating his motorized wheelchair but to no avail. Jit Singh caught up with him and grabbed the right wheelchair handle and forcefully tipped it over, causing the victim to fall onto the ground.

Police came and found Mr Ng still lying on the ground. He did not seek medical attention.

Urging the court to impose a short jail term, Deputy Public Prosecutor Vadi PVSS said violence against vulnerable victims should be treated harsher as they need to be protected.

He said the victim had to suffer not only abrasions but the utter indignity of the whole event apart from the damage to his wheelchair.

District Judge Lim Tse Haw agreed with the prosecution that Jit Singh's act was reprehensible. Instead of being shameful of his own wrongdoing for parking illegally, he went after the disabled person, and to "hurt him in a way that he could do nothing in view of his disability''.

"Therefore, I agree with the prosecution that this is an aggravating factor and a deterrent sentence has to be imposed in this case,'' he said.

The judge felt that the $100 Jit Singh paid to the victim was inadequate and ordered him to pay $500 compensation for the injury caused.

The maximum penalty for voluntarily causing hurt is two years' jail and a $5,000 fine.