Fight over unwanted bread lands man in jail

After a dispute over a bag of unwanted bread, a sub-contractor pushed a woman off a 0.8m-high platform and left her lying injured on the ground.

Madam Tan Souk Bee, now 64, fractured nine ribs in the fall. Eight months after the incident last year, she is still recuperating in hospital.

Toh Chai Kian, 74, was jailed for five months yesterday after pleading guilty to causing grievous hurt by performing a rash act.

He committed the offence at the loading and unloading bay of bread producer Gardenia Foods in Pandan Loop. Toh was then a sub-contractor in charge of disposing unwanted bread for the firm, where Madam Tan was working as a packer.

At around 4.30pm on Oct 12 last year, Madam Tan was at the bay and she picked up a bag of bread from Toh's tray. Court papers said he became "unhappy" and she placed it back.

A quarrel broke out between the pair and she walked away.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Chong Kee En said: "According to the victim, she also asked the accused why she could not look at the bread.

"Moments later, the accused ran towards the victim and pushed (her) on her back with force using both his hands, causing her to lose her balance and fall off the raised platform onto the ground below."

After that, Toh walked away and did not render any help to her.

Madam Tan was taken to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital where she was found to be suffering from multiple fractured ribs.

She was transferred to St Luke's Hospital on Nov 5 last year. The hospital has not given her a discharge date, the court heard.

Stressing that the victim had suffered severe injuries, DPP Chong urged District Judge Eddy Tham to jail Toh for seven months.

Toh's lawyer, Mr Liau Chier Hion, who was assigned to the case under the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme, asked for his client to be jailed for four weeks.

Mr Liau told the judge Toh was remorseful and had visited Madam Tan in hospital to apologise.

For causing grievous hurt by committing a rash act, Toh could have been jailed for up to four years and fined up to $10,000.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 20, 2017, with the headline 'Fight over unwanted bread lands man in jail'. Print Edition | Subscribe