Aussie jailed for assaulting cop at airport

Passenger who got into tussle after drinking spree gets 6 months and 2 weeks

Jason Peter Darragh, 44, pleaded guilty to assaulting a policeman and using criminal force on the officer's colleague at around 12.30am on April 20. PHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
A screenshot from a video showing Jason Peter Darragh, 44, tussling with police at Changi Airport Terminal 2 on April 20.
A screenshot from a video showing Jason Peter Darragh, 44, tussling with police at Changi Airport Terminal 2 on April 20. PHOTO: YOUTUBE/BEN BONIFANT

An Australian ended up with a longer stay in Singapore than intended after repeatedly getting drunk on four different days in April this year.

Jason Peter Darragh, 44, committed his most serious offences when he tussled with police officers at Changi Airport Terminal 2 on April 20.

For assaulting a police officer and using criminal force on his colleague at around 12.30am that day, the jobless man was jailed for six months and two weeks yesterday after pleading guilty earlier.

The incident was captured on videos which went viral.

Darragh had flown in from Perth in the afternoon of April 19. He was in transit to catch a flight later that day to Cebu, in the Philippines, to meet his girlfriend.

While at the airport, he consumed alcohol, before going to Clarke Quay where he continued drinking.

Intoxicated, he returned to the airport later that night to catch his flight but could not locate the check-in counter in his drunken state. Shortly after midnight, he asked a passer-by - Mr Teh Gim Tuck, 48 - for directions.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jason Nim said: "Suddenly, the accused became agitated and began to hurl vulgarities at Teh. Teh ignored the accused and as he was walking away, the accused suddenly snatched Teh's mobile phone from his back pocket and threw it on the ground before walking away."

Mr Teh then alerted the officers at the terminal's police post. Inspector Elzac Lee Chee Keong, 39, and Senior Staff Sergeant Koh See Yong, 42, approached Darragh but he became aggressive. The officers decided to arrest him.

As Senior Staff Sgt Koh took out his handcuffs, the Australian exclaimed: "You don't come near me or I will break your face."

Darragh then slipped on his headphones and taunted the officers by dancing.

He later charged at Senior Staff Sgt Koh before striking the officer's face with his hand. The officer's back hit a metal stand before he stumbled backwards and fell onto the floor.

The court heard that Darragh also pushed Insp Lee's chest and hands multiple times.

Four more police officers came forward to help their colleagues and they finally managed to take Darragh down to arrest him.

On April 25, he was rearrested while out on bail, for being drunk and incapable at Orchard Towers.

He was taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital because of an injured leg but there he abused Sergeant Ali Kamaruzaman, 28, using vulgar language.

Five days later, he was drunk yet again and annoyed a 29-year-old woman by touching his crotch in public in Tan Tye Place near Clarke Quay at around 5am.

DPP Nim urged District Judge Tan Jen Tse to jail Darragh for eight months and two weeks.

Stressing that he had shown "gross disregard" for the police officers' authority, DPP Nim added: "Public safety was certainly endangered by the accused's rampage."

Darragh's lawyer S.S. Dhillon pleaded for his client to be given the minimum jail sentence and fine.

He said: "He is by nature not a hostile or violent person... He wishes to tender his most sincere apologies to all his victims."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 01, 2017, with the headline Aussie jailed for assaulting cop at airport. Subscribe