Woman guilty of assaulting neighbour, causing him to fall and suffer fatal head injury

SINGAPORE - A dispute in 2017 turned fatal after a woman slapped her neighbour and pushed him, causing him to fall backwards and hit his head on the floor.

Mr Ho Wee Khuan died of a head injury two days later.

On Wednesday (Feb 19), District Judge Mathew Joseph found Leo Mona, 55, guilty of assaulting Mr Ho in a common area of a block of flats in Holland Close at around 4pm on Aug 10 that year.

The judge also found Leo guilty of attempting to intentionally obstruct the course of justice.

During the nine-day trial, a witness, Madam Sarada Appi Narayanan, testified that she had gone to her son's flat on Aug 10, 2017, to help him with household chores.

The court heard that at one point, she sat at a common area on the eighth storey where her son, Mr Wilson Loh, had put a table and some chairs.

Madam Sarada said that Mr Ho then joined her. A female neighbour and a man came forward soon after and had an argument with him, the court heard. The pair were not named in court documents.

The man accused Mr Ho of stealing some money and the pair left after Mr Ho denied the allegation.

Madam Sarada told the court that Leo then came forward and spoke to Mr Ho, who hurled an obscene word at her.

In her submissions, Deputy Public Prosecutor Daphne Lim said: "The accused became angry and slapped the deceased on the side of his face. Thereafter, the accused, who was standing face to face with the deceased, pushed the deceased with two hands. This led to the deceased falling."

Madam Sarada testified that she then ran back to her son's flat and Mr Loh alerted the police.

According to Madam Sarada, officers arrived soon after and took Leo aside. She added that as Leo passed Mr Loh's flat, Leo told her in Hokkien: "If you don't know, don't say."

Mr Loh told the court during the trial that he called for the police after seeing Mr Ho on the floor. Mr Loh also testified that Leo had told his mother in Hokkien: "If you don't know anything, don't anyhow say it out."

During the trial, Leo, who is represented by lawyer K. Jayakumar Naidu, denied slapping and pushing Mr Ho. Leo also said she had treated Mr Ho "like a younger brother". Mr Ho's age was not stated in court documents.

Delivering his verdict on Wednesday, Judge Joseph said that Madam Sarada was a "credible witness" while her son had testified in a "clear and concise manner".

The judge, however, found that Leo had given her evidence in a manner that were at times "almost illogical" and "haphazard".

Leo is now out on bail of $15,000 and will be sentenced on March 16. She can be jailed for up two years and fined up to $5,000 for assault.

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