Ex-director at automation firm jailed 2 weeks for assaulting private-hire car driver

SINGAPORE - A former director at an automation firm was jailed for two weeks on Thursday (July 22) for assaulting a private-hire car driver while intoxicated.

American Andrew McKee Bowles, 50, previously a managing director at Automation Anywhere, pleaded guilty to voluntarily causing hurt to Mr Ng Chee Siang.

Just hours before the incident on Aug 16 last year, Bowles attended a social gathering at Robertson Quay at around 2.30pm and he consumed alcoholic beverages.

One of his friends noticed that he was intoxicated at around 7pm.

The friend then booked a private hire vehicle to take Bowles home at Orange Grove Residences in Orange Grove Road.

Mr Ng arrived soon after in his car, the court heard.

The 41-year-old Singaporean noticed that Bowles' gait was unsteady and he was reeking of alcohol.

The American slipped into the rear passenger seat and nodded off. The two men did not communicate or interact with each other throughout the journey.

Bowles was still asleep when Mr Ng arrived at the drop-off point at Orange Grove Residences at around 7.30pm.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Kenny Yang said: "The vehicle's automated rear sliding door opened and this roused the accused from his sleep. The accused mumbled incoherently and refused to get off the vehicle."

Mr Ng then flashed the headlights of his car at the property's security officer to seek his assistance. The officer approached the car and recognised Bowles as one of the residents there.

The DPP added: "At this juncture, the accused suddenly leaned forward to the driver's seat and hit the victim's face with his elbow. The victim alighted from his vehicle and the accused followed suit.

"The accused then chased the victim around the vehicle and hurled vulgarities."

Bowles tried to punch Mr Ng but missed and fell onto a grass patch.

The security officer alerted the police and Bowles was then taken home by his wife.

Mr Ng went to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital and was found with tenderness to his jaw.

The court heard that Bowles has since made more than $200 in restitution to him.

Defence lawyers Rakesh Vasu and Farhan Tyebally pleaded for Bowles to be given a fine, stressing that he is very remorseful.

The lawyers from Gomez & Vasu said: "Upon hearing from his wife of the events which occurred, Andrew was in deep shock because the actions displayed whilst he was in such an inebriated state were absolutely out of character."

They added that Bowles immediately went to a police station and gave his statement to an investigation officer.

For voluntarily causing hurt, an offender can be jailed for up to three years and fined up to $5,000.

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