Man gets three weeks' jail for punching taxi driver

Shawn William was sentenced to three weeks' jail for punching a taxi driver in the face and body in December 2015.
Shawn William was sentenced to three weeks' jail for punching a taxi driver in the face and body in December 2015. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A man who punched a taxi driver in the face was sentenced to three weeks' jail on Wednesday (Nov 23).

Shawn William, 39, then a liaison officer with a licensed debt collector, pleaded guilty to hurting Mr Lai Seng Thong, 57, at a carpark in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10 on Dec 5, 2015.

The court heard that Shawn and his family had attended a birthday celebration and boarded Mr Lai's taxi late that evening. He had a few alcoholic drinks at the party.

While they were in the taxi, Shawn's wife, who was seated behind with her daughter, requested to use Mr Lai's mobile phone to call her relative to confirm the block number.

But Mr Lai refused. An argument broke out between him and William, who was seated in front.

During the argument, William threw $50 to Mr Lai and asked for his change.

While Mr Lai was searching for change, Shawn punched him once on the left side of his face.

Mr Lai called for help. He had a superficial cut on the head.

A second charge of fighting with Mr Lai was considered during his sentencing.

Shawn's lawyers Helen Chia and Vigneesh Nainar said in the mitigation plea that Shawn was unfamiliar with the area and where his relative's home was. The battery in his phone had run out and his wife had not topped up her pre-paid credit in her own phone. That's why she asked to borrow the victim's phone to ascertain the location of their relative's home.

Shawn deeply regretted his actions and was extremely sorry. He admitted throwing the first punch in a moment of extremely poor judgment, especially with his young daughter present, said Mr Vigneesh.

Counsel said the father of three was injured when he slipped and fell during the altercation and was kicked by the victim on the head.

Shawn's sentence was deferred to Monday (Nov 28).

He could have been jailed for up to two years and/or fined up to $5,000 for causing hurt.