SINGAPORE - A provision shop owner was jailed for seven weeks on Thursday (Oct 29) for punching a Catholic priest in the nose in a road rage case.
Dick Lim Poh Guan, 25, who was originally tried for causing grievous hurt, admitted to an amended charge of hurting Father Adrian Anthony, then 70, causing him to suffer a nasal tip fracture and multiple contusions on his back, hip and thigh.
The assault took place along Cashin Street, off North Bridge Road, on the evening of Feb 20 last year.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Clement Yong said Father Anthony had just finished his work at the Cathedral of Good Shepherd that evening when he decided to drive to McDonald's near Bras Basah Complex for dinner.
He was driving along Victoria Street and about to turn right into Middle Road when he stopped to allow pedestrians to finish crossing at the junction.
Lim, together with his wife, was driving behind in a van when he blasted his horn at the victim, startling him.
The victim continued driving and arrived at Cashin Street to park his car.
Just then, Lim came and gestured to him and knocked on his car windscreen.
Father Anthony, who wound down his window, did not know that Lim was the one who had earlier sounded his horn at him.
As soon as the victim wound down his window, Lim shouted at him over the way he drove.
To protect himself, the victim stepped out of his car with the intention of taking a photo of Lim's vehicle number. As soon as he took out his mobile phone, Lim snatched it away. The victim pleaded with Lim to return his phone but to no avail.
Lim's wife, Ms Ao Lin, then 20, asked the victim why he had stopped at the traffic junction, and if he wanted her husband to "bang your car from behind?''.
Father Anthony then realised the incident arose from the horning incident earlier. He tried to snatch his phone back from Lim, who resisted and punched him on his nose.
The victim fell and Lim kicked him once. The victim reported "seeing stars'' and started bleeding from his nose and tried to get up but failed. Lim threw the victim's phone on the ground, damaging it.
A passer-by called for an ambulance. The victim was given seven days' medical leave.
Pleading for leniency, Lim's lawyer Mervyn Tan said his client made compensation of $500 to the victim and apologised for what he had done.
District Judge Janet Wang said the courts are monolithic in their treatment in respect of road rage cases. "Violence is clearly anathema to all road users,'' she said.
While she noted from his lawyer's mitigation plea that he took care of his parents, she said she did not see the same token of goodwill and charity extended to other elderly persons like the victim in this case.
"In fact, you and your wife were exceedingly rude to him. I must say that your actions as well as your wife's were simply deplorable. You were simply bullying an old man on the road,'' she said.
Lim, a father of two, could have been jailed for up to two years and/or fined for causing hurt.