Man sentenced to jail, caning for knife attack

A birthday celebration at a bar turned ugly when a guest lunged at another man with a knife, causing serious injuries including a fractured skull.

Prakkash Balakrishnan, 27, climbed onto a table during a conversation to attack Mr G. Uthaya Kumar, slashing his upper body and punching him in the head several times.

Prakkash was sentenced to a year and nine months in jail with three strokes of the cane yesterday after pleading guilty to causing grievous hurt with a weapon. He was also ordered to pay compensation of $1,565 to Mr Uthaya, 24.

The court heard that at around 8pm on Aug 3 last year, Prakkash and his friends were celebrating a friend's birthday at Blu Jaz Cafe in Bali Lane. Mr Uthaya joined the party with his own group of friends at about 10.30pm.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Zulhafni Zulkeflee said the group of friends were talking when Prakkash suddenly lunged at Mr Uthaya, who was seated at the head of a table.

When Mr Uthaya fell to the ground, Prakkash punched him in the head several times and used the knife to slash the younger man's upper body before a bystander intervened.

Mr Uthaya did not fight back throughout the attack, the DPP said.

Prakkash then fled the scene after more people intervened and bar staff called an ambulance.

Police received a call at about 11.40pm, and Prakkash was arrested the next day.

An ambulance took Mr Uthaya to Tan Tock Seng Hospital where he was found to have multiple stab wounds, a collapsed left lung and a fractured skull.

DPP Zulhafni said the attack was unprovoked as there had been no prior dispute between the two, adding that as he got rid of the knife and hid at a friend's home after the attack, Prakkash had shown a lack of remorse.

However, defence lawyer T.M. Sinnadurai said the attack took place on the spur of the moment and was not premeditated, adding that Prakkash had lost control of his emotions after the victim taunted him with derogatory remarks.

Before passing sentence, District Judge Kenneth Yap said the sneak attack was "very vicious". "You must understand that what you did could have caused the death of the victim," the judge said.

For voluntarily causing grievous hurt, Prakkash could have been jailed for up to 10 years, and fined or caned.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 18, 2018, with the headline 'Man sentenced to jail, caning for knife attack'. Print Edition | Subscribe