SINGAPORE - Intoxicated after a night of drinking, a 32-year-old woman slapped and punched a Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) paramedic who told her not to touch ambulance equipment.
The paramedic had woken her up after the accused was found passed out in front of a parked taxi. Retana Rose Gracielle De Gracia then tried to pull a stretcher out from the ambulance.
The Filipina was on Tuesday sentenced to one-week jail after pleading guilty to a charge of using criminal force on a public servant.
Another count of being an annoyance in a public place while drunk was taken into consideration for her sentencing.
The court heard that De Gracia was out drinking with her friends at around 8pm on Nov 18 last year.
A taxi driver found her lying on the ground in front of his vehicle at around 5.30am the next day. He noticed she smelled strongly of alcohol and called the police for help.
Mr Muhammad Danial Rennie, an SCDF paramedic, arrived soon after with two of his colleagues.
He squeezed her shoulder to wake her up when she did not respond to his verbal commands.
De Gracia then walked unsteadily towards the ambulance with Mr Danial, 29, supporting her to prevent her from falling.
She opened the side door of the ambulance after fumbling with the door handle and started pulling one of the stretchers.
When the paramedic told her firmly not to touch ambulance equipment, she mumbled incoherently and slapped his right thigh.
She also punched him on his right shoulder before walking away quickly towards Block 120 Yishun Ring Road.
Mr Danial reported feeling pain in his shoulder after that but continued working as his shift was ending.
De Gracia was caught at around 7am after police searched the area.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Nicolle Ng said a short jail term is appropriate to deter others from committing such offences.
She noted, however, that the harm caused to the victim was low and De Gracia did not attract public disquiet.
In mitigation, the accused's lawyer, Ms Audrey Koo from Populus Law Corporation, said De Gracia's boss had invited her to a birthday celebration the night before the incident.
"My client is not a heavy drinker and it was difficult for her to reject her boss' kind gesture. She did not know her limits at the time and did not decline additional drinks,' she said.
Ms Koo added that De Gracia had no recollection of what she was doing at the time but acknowledged that it was "wrong for her to even touch the ambulance staff".
For using criminal force on a public servant, an offender can be jailed for up to four years and fined.
Correction note: An earlier version of this story got the name of the victim wrong. It has been corrected. We are sorry for the error.