Technician jailed for throwing stone into taxi with three passengers

SINGAPORE - A technician was jailed for two weeks on Tuesday for throwing a stone into the interior of a taxi in a road rage case.

Tanaraj Vellakannoo, 34, pleaded guilty to committing the negligent act to endanger the personal safety of others along Pan-Island Expressway (PIE), Paya Lebar exit, at about 6pm on Feb 4 this year.

The court heard that Mr Subramaniam Mariyappan, 61, was ferrying three passengers in his taxi when Tanaraj honked at him for allegedly driving too close to his car that evening while exiting the PIE at Paya Lebar.

The taxi driver sounded the horn back. Both parties stopped their vehicles at the traffic junction.

Tanaraj got down from his car and walked over to the taxi to confront Mr Subramaniam. The cabby wound down his window to talk to Tanaraj, who hurled vulgarities at him during a dispute. The taxi driver refused to get down from his vehicle.

In a fit of anger, Tanaraj picked up a piece of stone, measuring 5 cm by 5cm, from the pavement and threw it into the taxi without any consideration for the safety of the driver nor his passengers.

The stone hit Mr Subramaniam's elbow and the chin of Mr Muhammad Rafiee Roslee, 22, who suffered a 1cm scratch.

District Judge Salina Ishak said there has been enough publicity of road rage cases for members of the public to know that the usual sentence for such offences is a custodial one.

As highlighted by Deputy Public Prosecutor Marcus Foo, she said the sentences for such offences must act as a general deterrent to like-minded offenders.

"In the present case, the accused had over-reacted in the situation. He was clearly the aggressor by coming out of the vehicle to confront the victim,'' said Judge Salina.

Despite the fact that there were passengers in the taxi, he threw the stone and hurt was caused to two people. He showed very little or no regard for the safety of others, she said.

"It was fortuitous that the injuries were minor and never hit vulnerable parts of the body.''

Tanaraj, who said he regretted what he had done and pleaded for leniency, could have been jailed for up to six months and/or fined up t o $2,500 for the negligent act.

elena@sph.com.sg