Jail term upped for karaoke pub manager who slapped singer, causing mild hearing loss

SINGAPORE - The manager of a karaoke pub, who slapped a singer so hard that she suffered mild hearing loss, had his jail term increased from 12 weeks to four months on Thursday (June 6) following an appeal by the prosecution.

In enhancing the sentence meted out to Low Song Chye, the High Court laid down sentencing guidelines for cases of voluntarily causing hurt, an offence which carries a maximum of two years' jail.

In his written judgment, Justice See Kee Oon devised three sentencing bands based on whether the hurt caused was low, moderate or serious.

Those who commit offences involving low harm, with no visible injury or minor hurt such as scratches and abrasions, would face indicative sentences ranging from fines or short jail terms of up to four weeks.

At the other end of the scale, assailants who cause serious injuries that are permanent or require significant surgical procedures would face indicative jail terms of between six months and two years.

The sentences would be adjusted depending on relevant factors specific to each offender.

In the current case, Low had claimed trial to causing hurt to Ms Guang Man by slapping her face and ear and grabbing her neck in the early hours of July 12, 2016 at a MacPherson Road karaoke pub.

 

Ms Guang, whose job included singing, drinking and inducing customers to buy flower garlands for her, had gone to the office at the pub to collect her salary as it was her last day of work.

However, she was dissatisfied with the amount offered and refused to accept the money. After exiting the office, she picked up some balls from a pool table and threw them around.

Ms Guang testified that Low grabbed her neck and slapped her with "very great force" on the left side of her face and her left ear, and told her to stop throwing tantrums.

Low, who was responsible for security at the pub, denied assaulting her.

His version was that he went up to Ms Guang to stop her from throwing the pool balls but she became aggressive. He said his hand came into contact with her cheek with "not that great" force as he was pushing her away.

A medical examination found that Ms Guang's left eardrum was perforated.

Low was found guilty by a magistrate's court last year and sentenced to 12 weeks' jail. He was also ordered to pay Ms Guang $800 in compensation.

He appealed against the conviction, sentence and the compensation order, while the prosecution appealed for a harsher sentence.

On Thursday, Justice See said Low's case fell into the moderate harm category and four months' jail was appropriate, considering his past violence-related antecedents.

However, the judge noted: "While the accused's actions were certainly disproportionate and unwarranted, there was also an element of provocation by the victim."

Low's appeals were dismissed.

Justice See noted that $800 was "too modest" and the magistrate did not explain how he arrived at the sum, but said he would not interfere as the prosecution has not appealed against the compensation.