Jail and caning for knife attack on ITE campus

Muhammad Zuhairie Adely Zulkifli, 17, had slashed Ahmad Nurthaqif Sahed, 18, in front of students and teachers at ITE College West, leaving him with several cuts.
Muhammad Zuhairie Adely Zulkifli, 17, had slashed Ahmad Nurthaqif Sahed, 18, in front of students and teachers at ITE College West, leaving him with several cuts. PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

A student who attacked a part-time cook with a bread knife in a dispute over his girlfriend was jailed for 18 months yesterday and ordered to be given six strokes of the cane.

Muhammad Zuhairie Adely Zulkifli, 17, slashed Ahmad Nurthaqif Sahed, 18, in front of students and teachers at ITE College West, leaving him with several cuts. He also broke Mr Nurthaqif's forearm and two fingers.

District Judge Mathew Joseph described the assault as bold, brazen, heinous and sickening.

The judge agreed with the prosecution's call for a deterrent sentence, noting that the incident had caused much public disquiet.

Zuhairie pleaded guilty to the assault last week. He also admitted to a count of rioting on a separate occasion on April 20 last year.

A third charge of escaping from the Muhammadiyah Welfare Home on March 31 last year was taken into consideration during sentencing.

The court heard that Zuhairie first met Mr Nurthaqif on March 7 in Clarke Quay.

He shouted out to the victim's girlfriend, Norhalizah Abdul Wahab, 17, calling her "baby", and they conversed briefly.

When Ms Norhalizah went to the restroom, Mr Nurthaqif confronted Zuhairie.

Three days later, Mr Nurthaqif went to the ITE College West campus at 12.30pm to meet his girlfriend, a first-year student there. Upon spotting Mr Nurthaqif, Zuhairie confronted him and said he was unhappy with him.

Zuhairie then went to his locker and retrieved a bread knife with a 35cm blade. He charged at Mr Nurthaqif, who was sitting with his girlfriend at a large open space known as the Piazza.

Zuhairie slashed Mr Nurthaqif and continued swinging the knife even as the latter tried to run away.

The attack was captured on video by a student and the video clip was circulated on social media.

Mr Nurthaqif later managed to flee from his assailant. He was hospitalised for two days and given three months of medical leave.

Zuhairie fled shortly after but was arrested later that day at his grandmother's home in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 6.

On April 20 last year, Zuhairie was part of a group of six youths aged between 14 and 16 who punched and kicked a teenager.

The victim in that case suffered swelling on his left cheek and ended up with bruises and abrasions all over his body.

Zuhairie's lawyer Rajan Nair, who had asked for reformative training for his client, yesterday said he would be filing an appeal against the sentence.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 26, 2015, with the headline 'Jail and caning for knife attack on ITE campus'. Print Edition | Subscribe