Mover jailed after assaulting prison officer while in remand

SINGAPORE - During his remand at Changi Prison, an inmate broke a rule and wandered out of his cell to chat with a friend.

Mohamad Farhan Tajuddin, a mover, was unhappy when a prison officer said that disciplinary action would be taken against him and attacked the officer about two hours later.

Farhan, 28, was jailed for five years and seven months and ordered to receive three strokes of the cane on Tuesday (Jan 9).

He had pleaded guilty last year to assaulting the prison officer, being in a possession of a knife, threatening a boy with the weapon and two drug-related offences.

He was in remand on Dec 8, 2016, after he was caught committing the drug offences and crimes involving the knife, a parang.

At around 3pm that day, the 55-year-old prison officer was doing his rounds at Changi Prison Cluster B2 when he spotted Farhan leaving his cell to go to another one for a chat.

Farhan had done so while another inmate was being transferred to his cell.

Farhan tried to negotiate with the officer when he got caught, saying it was "a small matter" but the older man ignored him and left.

At around 5.15pm, the officer returned to the area to distribute some medication. When he came to Farhan's cell, the inmate punched his face and kicked him a few times on his body and legs.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Kavita Uthrapathy said: "The assault was caught on a CCTV camera which showed that the accused proceeded to assault the complainant without any warning and upon no provocation by the latter... The accused continued to punch and kick the complainant even after he had fallen to the floor and was motionless."

Farhan stopped only after the other inmates pulled him away.

Other prison officers rushed to the scene and the victim was taken to Changi General Hospital where he was found with multiple bruises and given seven days of medical leave.

Earlier on Sept 25 in 2016, Farhan armed himself with a parang with a 45cm-long blade and confronted a 15-year-old boy over a personal dispute at a playground near Block 545, Bedok North Street 3, at around 8.30pm. Court papers did not reveal details of the dispute.

Farhan challenged the teenager to a fight and when the latter declined, he took out the weapon and placed it near the youngster's neck.

The teenager's girlfriend, who was nearby, pushed Farhan and he lost his balance. The boy then ran away The girl's relative witnessed this incident and alerted the police. Officers soon arrived to arrest Farhan.

He was later released but was rearrested outside the State Courts at around 2.45pm on Nov 10, 2016, for failing to report for urine tests. His urine sample was later found to contain methamphetamine.

His lawyer Alice Tan, who was assigned to the case under the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme, pleaded for a five-year jail term with caning.

She said: "Farhan committed the offences in a moment of folly and his failure to exercise good judgment due to his inability to keep his anger under control."

For assaulting the prison officer, he could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined or caned.