Woman in tree dispute faces 5 charges

Shi (centre) leaving the State Courts with lawyers Melissa Kor and lrving Choh. She has been embroiled in a dispute with her neighbour over her raintree in Astrid Hill, and was ordered last week to pay $9,800 in damages to the neighbour and to trim t
Shi (centre) leaving the State Courts with lawyers Melissa Kor and lrving Choh. She has been embroiled in a dispute with her neighbour over her raintree in Astrid Hill, and was ordered last week to pay $9,800 in damages to the neighbour and to trim the tree.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

Four linked to Astrid Hill incident, while one concerns unrelated assault case; she is now out on bail

A 71-year-old woman who was earlier ordered to pay damages totalling $9,800 to her neighbour and to trim a raintree in Astrid Hill was charged yesterday with five offences.

Four of the charges relate to the Astrid Hill incident, while the remaining charge concerns an unrelated assault case.

On Feb 17 last year, Shi Ka Yee had allegedly trespassed into the bungalow in Astrid Hill belonging to her neighbour, Mr Nasrat Lucas Muzayyin.

She removed an ignition key from a crane, immobilising it and trapping a worker, Mr Ankathi Thiru- pathi, in the crane bucket.

Mr Ankathi was there to prune a raintree that was at least 80 years old.

She is said to have confined him there for more than an hour.

  • The charges

  • Shi Ka Yee, 71, faces five charges, with the first concerning an alleged assault in Telok Ayer in 2014, with Shi accused of punching Mr Raphael Chong Yen Ping, 58, in the face. The other four charges are related to the Astrid Hill incident involving a rain tree (above) last year. The charges are:

    1 Causing hurt

    2 Criminal trespass

    3 Wrongful confinement

    4 Committing a rash act to endanger the safety of others

    5 Using abusive words with intent to cause harassment

One charge states that she committed a rash act to endanger others' safety by revving her sports car engine and moving it towards Mr Muzayyin while he was standing in front of the car.

She is also accused of abusing Mr Muzayyin with vulgarities and saying things such as "You cut my tree, my tree is a living thing" with the intent to cause harassment.

In the charge unrelated to the Astrid Hill case, Shi is accused of punching Mr Raphael Chong Yen Ping, 58, in the face, causing a cut above his right eyebrow, in Telok Ayer Street on Feb 25, 2014.

The prosecution told the court that Shi is also being investigated by the Traffic Police for stopping her Ferrari in front of a tour bus, and time was needed to complete the investigation.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Zhuo Wenzhao said her actions blocked off three lanes of the five-lane road, causing a traffic jam along Orchard Road on June 29.

Shi is out on $15,000 bail and her passport has been impounded.

Her lawyer Irving Choh asked for an adjournment of four weeks. A pre-trial conference has been fixed for Aug 24.

Mr Choh told reporters that his client denies all the charges.

In his judgment last week, Justice Choo Han Teck rejected Shi's application for permission to appeal against a lower court decision ordering her to pay damages to Mr Muzayyin, who, with his wife, had sued Shi for nuisance, trespass and assault.

Shi was also ordered by the lower court to trim the tree's branches, failing which the couple would be at liberty to engage their own tree-cutting contractor.

Justice Choo said there was no merit in letting the case take up any more court time when cases with greater social issues were waiting to be heard.

The maximum punishment for causing hurt is two years' jail and a $5,000 fine.

For criminal trespass, the maximum punishment is three months' jail and a $1,500 fine.

For wrongful confinement, the maximum punishment is one year's jail and a $3,000 fine.

The penalty for a rash act is six months' jail and a $2,500 fine; and for harassment, a $5,000 fine and six months' jail.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 30, 2016, with the headline 'Woman in tree dispute faces 5 charges'. Print Edition | Subscribe