Man jailed for assaulting victim on bus and another at East Coast Park

A. Jeffere Abdul was jailed for 14 weeks after he admitted to two counts of causing hurt and one each of disorderly behaviour and using criminal force.
A. Jeffere Abdul was jailed for 14 weeks after he admitted to two counts of causing hurt and one each of disorderly behaviour and using criminal force. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - An unemployed man and two others attacked an American who boarded a bus and told them to calm down over a dispute with the bus driver.

The trio rained punches on Mr Jonathan Gale Ward's face and head for about two minutes, a district court heard.

It all started when A. Jeffere Abdul, 40, Ramachandran, 27, and Mohamed Iqbal Mahabub, 47, boarded SBS Transit No 16 along Mountbatten Road at 11.26pm on June 11 last year.

Iqbal walked past driver Kong Wooi Hoong, 26, without paying the bus fare. When Mr Kong reminded him to pay, Jeffere and Ramachandran became unhappy and started shouting and swearing at him, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Azri Imran Tan.

Jeffere continued hurling vulgarities and gesticulating at him even as Mr Kong covered his head in fear.

He then forcefully grabbed Mr Kong's collar with his hand, intending to cause fear.

A few minutes later, Mr Ward, 38, boarded the stationary bus and told the trio to calm down but they attacked him instead.

Police turned up shortly after and separated Jeffere and Ramachandran from Mr Ward, but the duo continued to shout and gesticulate wildly at Mr Ward, challenging him to a fight.

Despite repeated warnings to calm down, Jeffere continued to shout and behave in an aggressive manner.

Mr Ward was treated at Raffles Hospital and found to have suffered a right hand contusion, left eye bruising and abrasions on his lips.

In a separate case on Nov 22, 2015, the court heard that Malaysian cleaner Nagarajan Sunmuan, 30, and his three friends were at a public toilet in East Coast Park when Jeffere and Iqbal yelled at them for being noisy. Jeffere and Iqbal also challenged the four men to a fight but Mr Nagarajan and his friends just walked away.

But the four started running when Jeffere and Iqbal ran towards them. After a while, Mr Nagarajan stopped running as he was carrying heavy bags.

Jeffere swung a metal fishing rod holder at his wrist. He swung the rod holder again but the victim managed to grab it and subsequently threw it away.

Mr Nagarajan's range of movement of his left thumb was limited after the incident.

Seeking a total sentence of at least four months' jail, DPP Tan told District Judge Imran Abdul Hamid that this was a group assault. The attack on Mr Ward had arisen over a simple request by the driver to pay the bus fare, he said.

"The victim had tried to diffuse the situation by asking the men to calm down, before being subject to an unprovoked and sustained attack - lasting two minutes," he said.

On Tuesday (March 28), Jeffere, who has previous convictions in 2004 and 2005, was jailed for 14 weeks after he admitted to two counts of causing hurt and one each of disorderly behaviour and using criminal force. Two other charges - mischief and abusing the bus driver - were considered.

Ramachandran was jailed three months last November for the causing hurt charge. Iqbal died before his case could be mentioned.

The maximum punishment for causing hurt is two years' jail and a $5,000 fine on each charge. For using criminal force, Jeffere could have been jailed for up to three months and/or fined up to $1,500; and for disorderly behaviour, fined up to $2,000 and/or jailed for up to six months.