5 months' jail for man who kicked pregnant girlfriend and spat at Aetos officer

SINGAPORE - Upset with his pregnant girlfriend for refusing to move in with him, Goppinath Rajah assaulted her at the secondary school where she worked as an administrative officer.

Despite knowing that she was around four months pregnant at the time, Goppinath, 29, kicked her in the abdomen, pulled her hair and dragged her along the floor.

He was sentenced to five months jail on Monday (Oct 11) after pleading guilty to five charges, including voluntarily causing hurt, using criminal force to deter a public servant from doing his duty, using threatening words against a public servant and acting as a member of an unlawful society.

Another seven similar charges were taken into consideration for sentencing.

The court heard that Goppinath, who was a commercial diver at the time, had an argument with his girlfriend over the phone on Aug 4 this year when she rejected his offer to live together.

Furious, he went to her workplace - a secondary school in the west of Singapore - and a scuffle broke out.

He pushed her to the ground, kicked and punched her in the abdomen and dragged her along the ground.

School staff who heard the commotion intervened and called the police.

The 30-year-old victim, who had a head injury and multiple bruises on her body, sought medical help at National University Hospital and checks there determined the fetus was unharmed. When officers detained Goppinath at a block of flats near the school, he turned aggressive and shouted expletives at them.

In an earlier incident in December 2019, Goppinath made gang hand signs and shouted gang slogans at a funeral procession. Police officers initially let him off with a warning when he denied his actions but as he was walking away, Goppinath made another gang sign and shouted a gang-related phrase at the officers. He was detained immediately.

Later that day, he spat at an Aetos officer and hurled expletives at him while being escorted at the Police Cantonment Complex.

Seeking at least 23 weeks' jail, Deputy Public Prosecutor Melissa Lee said Goppinath showed a "worrying pattern of abusive behaviour".

"The fact that he kicked and punched the victim's abdominal area knowing that she was pregnant with his child warrants an uplift in sentence. His conduct was persistent and continued even after the (school staff) stepped in," said the DPP.

In mitigation, Goppinath's lawyer, Mr Amarick Gill, said his client had written a letter of apology to his girlfriend and was remorseful towards his victims.

For voluntarily causing hurt, Goppinath could have been jailed up to three years and fined up to $5,000.

The maximum penalty for using criminal force on a public servant carries a jail term of up to four years and a fine.

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