Fined for hitting man over parking space

John Duncan Tasker was fined $1,500 and ordered to pay $1,000 in compensation to Mr Yak Eng Kiat.
John Duncan Tasker was fined $1,500 and ordered to pay $1,000 in compensation to Mr Yak Eng Kiat.

A former grassroots leader was yesterday fined $1,500 and ordered to pay $1,000 in compensation to a man he punched in an altercation over a carpark space.

John Duncan Tasker, 48, was vice-chairman of the Upper Changi Neighbourhood Committee from 2013 until July this year. He pleaded guilty to a charge of causing hurt, and a count of acting rashly was taken into consideration in sentencing.

The court heard that at about 6.10 pm on May 30, Mr Yak Eng Kiat, 37, drove to Carpark C1 at East Coast Park and switched on his hazard lights while waiting for a car to leave a parking space. Tasker, a permanent resident from Britain, drove his car against the direction of traffic and took the space.

Mr Yak then wound down his driver's seat window and asked: "How could you do this?"

Tasker went up to Mr Yak and a quarrel ensued, and both men exchanged vulgarities. Tasker then threw a punch at Mr Yak and returned to his car. As Mr Yak got out of his car to take photos of Tasker's car plate, the latter drove towards him before leaving the carpark. Mr Yak stepped aside and was not hit.

He had a 2cm cut above his right eyelid stitched up in hospital and got six days of medical leave.

In mitigation, Tasker's lawyer Terence Tan told District Judge Shawn Ho that on the day of the incident, when his client went up to Mr Yak, who was shouting, and told him to calm down, the latter hurled expletives in front of his two young children.

He added that Tasker offered Mr Yak compensation of $2,500, even before he was charged in court.

Tasker is the chief operating officer of a sportswear retailer and distributor, which he co-founded.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 10, 2015, with the headline 'Fined for hitting man over parking space'. Print Edition | Subscribe