Man gets maximum fine of $1,500 for pushing cabby

A businessman was fined the maximum $1,500 on Monday for using criminal force on a taxi driver. Karan Deepak Kirpalani, 25, pleaded guilty to pushing Mr Phua Lai Heng, 39, on the chest at The Seafront on Meyer, a condominium, at 4.18am on Nov 4, 2012.

A court heard that Mr Phua had picked up Kirpalani at Bishopsgate in Tanglin at about 4am that day. Kirpalani, who lives in Meyer Road, vomited twice in the taxi. The first was into a plastic bag given by the victim, and the second time, on the passenger seat.

When the taxi arrived at the condominium, Kirpalani alighted and walked away without paying the fare. Mr Phua got down and stopped him from leaving, asking him to pay the taxi fare and compensation for cleaning the taxi. Kirpalani then pushed the victim on the chest. Mr Phua called the police.

Kirpalani's lawyer Shashi Nathan said his client has paid $4,000 in compensation to the victim and apologised to the taxi driver who has forgiven him.

He said when his client reached the guardhouse of the condominium, he realised that he had left his wallet at his friend's place. He then told the cabby that he wanted to go upstairs to get the money from his mother whom he had contacted on the phone.

The victim thought Kirpalani had no intention to pay him and so stood in front of him to block his way several times.

Frustrated, Kirpalani staggered forward in his drunken stupor and pushed Mr Phua. His mother later came and paid the cabby $80.

Kirpalani could have been jailed for up to three months and/or fined up to $1,500.