Ban for driver who blocked road, hit motorist

An "irresponsible and selfish" driver who parked his car indiscriminately and punched another driver when he sounded his horn in protest has been banned by the High Court from driving for a year.

Odd-job worker Fizul Asrul Efandi, 30, initially escaped the driving ban after the district judge who sentenced him to 16 weeks' jail for causing hurt felt that his two punches did not arise from situations connected to driving.

The district judge said the first punch happened as a result of Fizul being agitated by the victim, 54-year-old Chong Kok Soon, honking, while the the second arose from Fizul's anger when the victim tried to call the police .

Prosecutors appealed for a driving ban, arguing that this approach in analysing Fizul's motivation for each punch was too narrow. Moreover, Fizul was a repeat offender with a road-related conviction in 2014.The High Court agreed.

In a judgment published yesterday, Judge of Appeal Tay Yong Kwang said the offence was clearly one which had arisen from or was connected with a dispute over the use of a road.

On Sept 11, 2016, Fizul stopped his car in Woodlands Centre Road in front of Block 4A, where each lane is separated by a divider.

Without turning on his hazard lights, he got out and went to a nearby ATM, leaving his female passenger in the car.

Shortly after, Mr Chong drove up behind Fizul's car and realised he was blocked, but he could not reverse either as another car had come up behind him.

When Fizul returned minutes later, Mr Chong sounded his horn. Fizul confronted him, saying: "You cannot wait ah?"

He challenged Mr Chong to step out of the car, then spat on and punched him. When Mr Chong tried to call the police, Fizul punched him again. Fizul's passenger then pulled him off and they drove away.

Justice Tay said it was not realistic to parse the incident into parts. "One action then led to a corresponding reaction but they were all linked causally and closely to the respondent's irresponsible and selfish hoarding of the road space," said the judge.

Justice Tay said Fizul could have at least turned on his hazard lights or apologised for blocking the road, but chose to be rude and "totally uncivil" instead.

"It is clearly in the public interest that aggressive drivers who do not control their anger and who pose a danger to the safety of other road users should not be allowed to drive for an appropriate period of time," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 17, 2018, with the headline 'Ban for driver who blocked road, hit motorist'. Print Edition | Subscribe