Ex-recruitment consultant could face jail for breaking commuter's nose

Benjamin John Holman (pictured), who is accused of causing hurt to Benjamin Ow Zhi Min by punching him several times on an MRT platform. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - A former recruitment consultant admitted to punching a fellow commuter who bumped into him at an MRT station, in an attack which left his victim with a broken nose.

Briton Benjamin John Holman lost his job as a result of the incident, and on Wednesday (April 18) the 33-year-old's lawyer pleaded for either a fine or a short jail term.

Holman had been drinking alcohol before 30-year-old Mr Jason Ow Zhi Min knocked into him at Raffles Place station during the evening rush hour on Feb 3 last year.

Holman pleaded guilty to causing hurt last month.

Earlier, Deputy Public Prosecutor M Kayal Pillay had earlier urged District Judge Kessler Soh to jail Holman for at least eight months, stressing that it was a "senseless attack" in a public place and that Mr Ow "tried to retreat but to no avail".

On Wednesday, Holman's lawyer, Mr Vinit Chhabra pleaded for his client to be given either fine or a jail term of up to four weeks. He added that Holman had got married in February.

DPP Pillay said that Mr Ow was on his way home and was walking along the train platform when he knocked into Holman by accident.

The Singaporean turned around and looked at Holman before walking away. Holman then yelled at Mr Ow who shouted back at him.

The two men had an argument but Mr Ow later disengaged and walked away. Still unhappy, Holman walked towards him and pushed the younger man's chest.

A scuffle broke out and when Mr Ow pushed Holman away and told him to back off, the Briton responded by approaching him with his fists raised.

DPP Pillay said: "He punched the victim in his face twice and both parties then started punching each other. During the fist fight, the victim was almost kneeling on the ground.

"The accused continued to punch the victim multiple times in his face. There were many other commuters at the station platform at the material time. Both parties were eventually separated by passers-by."

Holman tried to walk away but a bystander stopped him and the police were alerted.

Mr Ow was taken to the Singapore General Hospital where he was found have suffered a broken nose and bruising. He was given seven days' medical leave.

Holman will be back in court on May 11.

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