3 weeks' jail for nurse who threatened to 'smash the Family Court' and hit judge

SINGAPORE - A nurse undergoing divorce proceedings, who felt the Family Courts were not giving her enough help, threatened to "smash" the court and hit a district judge handling her case.

Chinese national Zhang Honghong made the threats in a summons application she filed with an attached affidavit in December 2017.

She was given a conditional stern warning for this on May 18 last year, stating that she should refrain from any criminal conduct for a year.

Despite this, the Singapore permanent resident re-offended and on Nov 28 last year, she filed an affidavit in court stating that the judge was "very good in acting dumb".

She also stated: "Seeing the family court judge and the defendant act in cahoots... really disgust me."

The 37-year-old mother of two was sentenced on Friday (Dec 27) to three weeks' jail after pleading guilty to a harassment charge.

A second similar charge was considered during sentencing.

Deputy Public Prosecutor David Koh said Zhang and her then husband, Singaporean Lim Teck Leng, 42, were undergoing divorce proceedings at the time.

Lim also faces a harassment charge involving the same judge and his case is still pending.

Their case was initially handled by a different judge before District Judge Jinny Tan took over and presided over the ancillary hearing.

On Aug 25, 2017, she made her final orders on matters such as the division of matrimonial assets and maintenance.

About three months later, Zhang filed four applications, mainly relating to requests to vary Judge Tan's orders.

The judge later conducted a case conference on Dec 11 that year and fixed for another one to be held 11 days later.

The DPP said that at the time, Zhang was frustrated with Lim for not paying maintenance and was angry, as she felt that the Family Courts were not helping her enough.

On Dec 15, 2017, she electronically filed a summons application with an attached affidavit stating that she would "smash" the court and hit the judge if her matter was not resolved later that month.

DPP Koh said: "The accused also stated... 'If anybody in the family court dares to touch me, I will die in the family court', and that she had informed the Chinese embassy to 'help retrieve my dead body'.

"She also wrote that '(We) will settle all new and old scores together' and that 'I am not joking, I am very serious and informing everybody in the form of summon!'."

Zhang also repeatedly used vulgarities in the affidavit, the court heard.

The police later investigated the matter and she was given the conditional stern warning last year.

As a result of her threats, the Family Justice Courts stepped up the security measures for Judge Tan during the case conference on Dec 22, 2017.

Additional security measures were also taken in subsequent hearings.

The court heard that Zhang re-offended in November last year when she filed another affidavit critical of the judge, and the police were alerted.

Offenders convicted of harassment can be jailed for up to a year and fined up to $5,000.

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