Guard gets jail, cane over colleague's death

Joshua Thomas was sentenced to four years' imprisonment and six strokes of the cane for causing grievous hurt.
Joshua Thomas was sentenced to four years' imprisonment and six strokes of the cane for causing grievous hurt.

A drunk security guard punched his colleague in the face as he was angry that the latter had defecated near their security post.

Joshua Thomas, 35, a Malaysian, rained six punches on his compatriot, Mr Jasvinder Singh, 49, and pushed him to the ground.

Mr Singh, who suffered facial fractures and a fracture-dislocation of his cervical spine, died as a result of the attack at a worksite in Tuas South Boulevard from around 11pm on Nov 16, 2016, to 1am.

Yesterday, District Judge Kenneth Yap sentenced Joshua to four years' jail and ordered him to be given six strokes of the cane for causing grievous hurt. Thomas pleaded guilty to the amended charge in November last year.

"What you did that night was a senseless act of brutality, and you could not control the force used. As a result, you not only used excessive force, you also failed to summon assistance for him, which may have saved him,'' said the judge. Instead, Joshua had taken Mr Singh's money and gone to Geylang.

There was a need to send a deterrent message, the judge added.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Bhajanvir Singh told the court earlier that the two men had shared three bottles of brandy after dinner at the security post, which they used for accommodation.

At about 11pm, Joshua accused Mr Singh of defecating nearby instead of in the toilet. Mr Singh initially denied doing so, but later admitted to it and apologised.

In anger, Joshua punched Mr Singh twice. Five minutes later, he punched Mr Singh again. The men also argued about Mr Singh not paying back money he had borrowed from another security guard.

Joshua threw another three punches at his colleague, who was seated and did not retaliate. When Mr Singh showed him a tooth that came loose, Joshua took it and threw it away.

A third guard who had joined the two men for dinner tried to stop Joshua, but to no avail. Joshua said Mr Singh deserved to be punished.

At around 1am, when Mr Singh tried to stand up, Joshua pushed him down forcefully.

As his colleague lay motionless, Joshua took off with Mr Singh's money - his pay - and went to Geylang, where he checked into a hotel with a Thai prostitute. He remained there until his arrest at 9pm.

In their submissions for Joshua to be given at least four years' jail and six strokes of the cane, DPP Singh and DPP Dwayne Lum said there was a need for the courts to impose stiff sentences on offenders such as Joshua so as to deter others from engaging in similar displays of alcohol-fuelled violence.

They said Joshua's culpability was high. He was the aggressor and the violence meted out to Mr Singh was gratuitous and senseless.

Joshua could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined or caned for causing grievous hurt.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 05, 2018, with the headline 'Guard gets jail, cane over colleague's death'. Print Edition | Subscribe