SINGAPORE - A former convict, who was celebrated during last year's National Day for turning his life of crime around and completing a law and management course at Temasek Polytechnic, was sent back to jail on Friday .
This was for assaulting a taxi driver and his cousin a few years ago.
Banquet waiter S. Sarbir Singh, 26, admitted last month to punching taxi driver Woo Teng Fatt, 56, in the face, kicking him and pinning him onto the ground. This happened at the open space carpark of the Singapore Flyer at Raffles Avenue, on Oct 24, 2012.
He also admitted causing grievous hurt to his cousin, Ms Mary Lynn Ramos, then 29, by punching and kicking her and also stepping on her ribcage at the common corridor outside her Shunfu Road home on Oct 24, 2013.
In sentencing him to a total of 20 months' jail, District Judge Michelle Yap commended Singh's effort to turn his life around from the time he was first charged.
"I am persuaded that he genuinely wants to change for the better, and will accordingly give some weight to this. The accused had done wrong, and it is now the time for him to face the music and be punished for the offences, '' she said.
The court heard that Singh, then a 23-year-old Temasek Polytechnic student, and his wife were at the Singapore Flyer on Oct 24, 2012 when they asked Mr Woo if he accepted payment by Nets. Mr Woo said he did not, in a way which Singh thought was rude.
In a fit of anger, Singh kicked the front passenger door and left with his wife. Mr Woo came out to stop him but Singh pushed the cabby, who fell. The couple then walked away.
Mr Woo called the police and then followed Singh to prevent him from leaving. The two men had a heated exchange of words and vulgarities.
During the dispute, Singh punched and kicked the victim and later swung the victim to the ground and used his knee to pin the victim's neck and stomach.
Security officers intervened, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Kelly Ho.
Exactly a year later, the court heard, Singh went to Ms Ramos' flat to look for his wife. He banged on the victim's the door and windows.
When told that his wife was not in, he did not believe Ms Ramos and tried to enter the unit. She used an umbrella to block him. Singh held onto the umbrella and dragged the victim out onto the corridor where he pushed her backwards causing her to trip and fall. He then attacked her. Ms Ramos suffered, among other injuries, multiple facial fractures.
Singh's lawyer N Sudha Nair said her client came from a broken home and had a tumultuous childhood .
She said it was during his reformative training in 2007 that Singh resolved to turn his life around and focused in excelling in his studies. He achieved astounding results in his O levels - 4As and 1B.
Counsel said the aspiring lawyer gave tuition to needy students, mentored youths at risk and conducted motivational training workshops during his time at the polytechnic.
"Sarbir's numerous contributions to the society were duly recognised and he was celebrated as one of the 'Everyday Heroes' at the National Day Parade in 2014,'' she said.