Former bank officer jailed 1 1/2 years for Halloween fight

James Daniel Rhodes, 37, British National, was jailed for 11/2 years on Thursday for causing grievous hurt. -- ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW
James Daniel Rhodes, 37, British National, was jailed for 11/2 years on Thursday for causing grievous hurt. -- ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

A Briton, who got into a fight at a Halloween party, was jailed for 11/2 years on Thursday. James Daniel Rhodes, 36, fractured the skull of Australian Mr Ronald Tan, 34, and was convicted of causing grievous hurt. Mr Tan later died from an unrelated condition, a damaged heart valve, in Batam.

Rhodes was also ordered to pay $32,000 in compensation to Mr Tan's mother. This is for medical expenses, loss of her son's income and transport expenses.

Rhodes, a former bank officer, was also found guilty of punching Mr Kevin Michael Hubbard, 31, an interior designer, at the same party. He is appealing against the conviction and sentence and is out on bail of $25,000.

During the trial, Deputy Public Prosecutor Sanjiv Vaswani told the court that Rhodes had been invited by a friend to the party on Oct 23, 2010 at The Spinnaker condominium near Newton. There, Rhodes got into an argument with Mr Tan. The Briton was told to leave but traded blows with one of the hosts in the lift. He was brought back to the apartment to change his bloodied shirt for a fresh one but while being ushered out again, he assaulted Mr Hubbard before punching Mr Tan in the face.

A guest at the party testified that Mr Tan landed very heavily on his back with a "very bad noise". "It was like a watermelon bursting," she had told the court.

Rhodes then left for home. He was arrested the next day. His lawyer, Mr Sunil Sudheesan, had argued that his client had felt threatened at the party and had reacted in fear of his life.

Rhodes could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined or caned.