Teen who led group to assault man jailed, caned

In March, a 19-year-old instigated three accomplices to brutally attack a 39-year-old man, leaving him bedridden and with brain damage.

Yesterday, Mohammad Noor Helmi Mohamed Herman was sentenced to eight years and eight months' jail and six strokes of the cane. The mover was also fined $1,500 for stealing a Mata Puteh bird and a bird cage worth a total of $1,000 in July last year.

He had pleaded guilty to six of nine charges, including criminal intimidation, drug consumption and causing grievous hurt.

The assault took place on March 6, after Helmi, Ahmad Sholihin Mosa, 23, Mohammad Zaidi Zahad, 17, and Muhammad Syaz-wandi Abdullah, 16, bought food and drinks at a 7-Eleven store in Tampines Street 23 at about 3.30am.

The victim, Mr See Chien Hwa, had tapped Helmi on the shoulder and asked him for cigarettes. Helmi said he had none. Mr See went into the store to buy a drink. When he came out, he slapped Helmi on the back. He did not reply when Helmi asked him why, and shouted at the group after he sat down on a bench.

Unhappy that Mr See had shouted at them, Helmi took 10 tablets of nitrazepam - a drug used to treat anxiety and insomnia - before picking up an empty beer bottle and asking his friends if they wanted to assault Mr See. They agreed.

Helmi swung the bottle at Mr See's head, then kicked his upper body, causing him to collapse. The group punched and kicked him before fleeing. However, Helmi returned to repeatedly punch Mr See, who was found by a passer-by covered in blood and with glass fragments around him.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jason Chua said the latest medical report stated that Mr See is still in a vegetative state. He said the prosecution will not hesitate to seek a severe and stiff sentence to send a clear signal that offences which cause grave public disquiet and serious injuries will not be tolerated.

District Judge Mathew Joseph called the attack a "vicious rampage", one that was senseless and so brutal it almost defied description. Sholihin was on Tuesday sentenced to 41/2 years' jail and three strokes of the cane. The two teens were given reformative training.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 05, 2015, with the headline 'Teen who led group to assault man jailed, caned'. Print Edition | Subscribe