Jail for man who hit shopkeeper in dispute over credit

A businessman originally accused of robbery with hurt was given a year's jail yesterday for punching a shopkeeper over a dispute.

S.I. George Raj, 46, general manager of a family business dealing in meat products, pleaded guilty to an amended charge of causing hurt to Mr Senthilkumar Sachithanantham, 43, on June 4 last year.

The dispute was over Raj's credit account at the store, Nature Fresh Mart, in Jalan Kuras, off Upper Thomson Road.

Raj admitted to threatening to kill Mr Senthilkumar by brandishing a 16cm-long chopper that evening.

He was given a concurrent sentence of two months' jail for this.

Raj was also fined $1,000 in an unrelated case of behaving in a disorderly manner at Orchard Towers.

A district court heard yesterday that Raj got into an argument with Mr Senthilkumar when he went to the shop at about 7.30pm on the day of the incident.

When the victim told him off, Raj punched Mr Senthilkumar on his chin and his head a few times and said that he would kill him.

When the victim responded by daring him to do so, Raj took a chopper from one of the shelves and moved towards Mr Senthilkumar.

The court heard that he also assaulted two other men in the shop by kicking them.

These were among four charges taken into consideration.

On Sept 3 last year, police were conducting enforcement checks on the second floor of Orchard Towers when Raj asked them why they were doing so. He was unhappy that they were there.

Raj, who reeked of alcohol, repeatedly raised his voice and gestured towards the police officers.

Despite several warnings, he continued his disorderly behaviour and was arrested.

Assistant Public Prosecutor Lydia Goh sought a sentence of one year and a fine.

Raj had a number of previous violence-related convictions, such as robbery with hurt, causing hurt by dangerous means and breach of a personal protection order.

She told the court that he has a "predisposed violent streak", judging from his criminal record.

The court heard in mitigation that he had acted on impulse, was remorseful for his actions and had given compensation for medical expenses incurred by the victim.

Raj could have been jailed for up to two years and/or fined up to $5,000 for causing hurt. The maximum penalty for criminal intimidation is two years' jail and a fine.

Elena Chong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 01, 2017, with the headline 'Jail for man who hit shopkeeper in dispute over credit'. Print Edition | Subscribe