Two weeks' jail for man who beat up cabby over $20 fare

A 31-year-old commodities broker who beat up a taxi driver over about $20 in fares was on Wednesday sentenced to two weeks in jail and ordered to pay $5,000 compensation to his victim. -- ST PHOTO: WANG HUI FEN
A 31-year-old commodities broker who beat up a taxi driver over about $20 in fares was on Wednesday sentenced to two weeks in jail and ordered to pay $5,000 compensation to his victim. -- ST PHOTO: WANG HUI FEN

A 31-year-old commodities broker who beat up a taxi driver over about $20 in fares was on Wednesday sentenced to two weeks in jail and ordered to pay $5,000 compensation to his victim.

Briton Elliott Raymond Pitcher argued with Mr Gui Hwee Meng, 59, over the route to take to his home in Gilstead Road and hit the cabby on the head after he almost missed a turn. He later kicked and punched the cabby after a dispute over the mode of payment. The attack knocked the man's spectacles off, and left him bleeding and bruising on his head.

District Judge Siva Shanmugam said that taxi drivers provide an "essential public service" and had "every right" to work in a safe environment. He considered that Pitcher had offered and already paid the compensation in full, and also that this was the man's first brush with the law.

Pitcher committed the offence in the early hours of Sep 12 last year. After failing to settle the fare through Nets, he tried to leave but paid up in cash after the cabby threatened to call the police. But he kicked Mr Gui in the face and stomach, and continued to punch and kick him after he had fallen to his knees, when the cabby bent over to retrieve his mobile phone which had earlier fallen to the ground. Pitcher pleaded guilty on Nov 4 to voluntarily causing hurt to the cabby. The maximum penalty for the offence is two years in jail and a $5,000 fine.