Construction worker in S'pore bites off tip of colleague's finger after argument in lorry

Logan Govindaraj pleaded guilty to one charge of voluntarily causing grievous hurt. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - An argument between two construction workers in a lorry ended with one of them biting off the tip of his colleague's little finger.

Logan Govindaraj, 30, pleaded guilty on Wednesday (Nov 24) to one charge of voluntarily causing grievous hurt by biting off the tip of Mr Muthu Selvam's left pinky.

District Judge Lynette Yap adjourned the case for a hearing to decide if the victim has been permanently inconvenienced by the attack, after the prosecution and defence lawyers failed to reach an agreement.

At 4pm on Dec 6, 2020, Logan, an Indian national, joined Mr Muthu and another worker, who was playing music and drinking alcohol, in a lorry parked near their dormitory at an industrial estate in Kranji Crescent.

Logan then drank at least three cans of beer, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Melissa Lee. While drunk, he scolded Mr Muthu and accused him of sleeping with other workers. Mr Muthu told him to stop lying and asked him to leave.

After both of them got off the lorry, Logan kept shouting and obstructed Mr Muthu, who pushed him out of the way while placing his left hand on Logan's chest near his mouth.

"The accused bit the victim's left pinky knowing he would likely cause grievous hurt to him," said DPP Lee.

Mr Muthu, who was bleeding profusely, retaliated by slapping Logan's head and grabbing his shirt. When he realised the top of his finger was missing, he went to clean it and asked his colleagues to call for an ambulance.

He was taken to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital and part of his finger was amputated to prevent infection. A portion of his pinky was found at the incident site but could not be reattached to his finger.

DPP Lee cited medical reports that mentioned that Mr Muthu had suffered a fracture on his left little finger, which had a human bite wound.

Logan was arrested and found to be intoxicated at the time of the offence.

On Wednesday, Logan, who speaks Tamil, told the court through an interpreter that he could not recall scolding Mr Muthu in the lorry but did not deny it.

He then pleaded guilty to the charge.

Judge Yap adjourned the case after defence lawyer Ashvin Hariharan took issue with the prosecution's point that the loss of the fingertip would cause permanent disability and cited reports that stated the victim had a good range of motion and grip.

DPP Lee said the statement that he had good motion and grip had to be read in context of a man who has just had an operation. She also said her point that Mr Muthu had been caused inconvenience for the rest of his life was a logical inference, comparing someone with an amputated fingertip with another with a normal fingertip.

Judge Yap ruled that the prosecution's inference should be supported by a medical report and extended Logan's bail for an adjournment. He is due back in court in December.

For voluntarily causing grievous hurt, an offender can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined or caned.

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