A busker who was arrested for suspected drug-related offences passed his urine test while in custody yet still ended up being jailed for causing a scene at the police station.
In the State Courts on Wednesday (14 February), Ricardo Neville Djunaidi, a 36-year-old Singaporean, pleaded guilty to two charges under the Protection from Harassment Act, one charge of causing hurt to a public servant and one charge of causing mischief.
He was jailed a total of five months and 10 weeks on the charges. A fifth charge of causing mischief was taken into consideration during sentencing.
The court heard that Djunaidi, a busker, was arrested on 5 December 2017 at City Plaza on suspicion of having committed drug-related offences.
He was brought back to the lock-up at the Bedok Police Division Headquarters where he was made to undergo a urine test. He tested negative for controlled drugs and arrangements were made for him to be released from police custody.
Djunaidi then asked if anyone would send him back to City Plaza where he was first arrested. He was then told that the police did not provide such services.
Djunaidi then refused to be released from custody and said that he would rather spend time in jail because he had no money to travel. He became aggressive and started shouting vulgarities at a police officer.
A second officer heard the commotion and tried to ask him to calm down so he could explain police procedures to him. Djunaidi continued to insist that he be brought back to City Plaza, saying that he had left some of his belongings there. He refused to accept the second officer’s explanation and hurled vulgarities at him too.
Djunaidi then challenged the officer to a fight. He put up a struggle as two officers tried to restrain him and kicked a third officer on his right leg in the process.
He was later placed in a padded cell. While inside, he tore up the cell’s laminated flooring and damaged other parts of it. The cost of the damage amounted to $2,850.
Calling him a “recalcitrant offender”, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Tang Shangjun asked for a jail term of at least eight months.
DPP Tang pointed out that Djunaidi had previous convictions including housebreaking, theft and using criminal force on public servants. There was a need to protect public servants, and Djunaidi’s actions showed a blatant disregard for police authority, said Tang.
Djunaidi’s lawyer Christine Chuah asked for leniency for her client, saying that Djunaidi had no close family members in Singapore and was homeless. She also said Djunaidi wished to continue seeking treatment for his anger management issues.
Chuah asked for a total jail term of between three-and-a-half to four-and-a-half months.
Addressing Djunaidi, District Judge Jasvender Kaur said Djunaidi should ask prison officers to refer him to a halfway house so that he would not be homeless after his release.
“I hope you will secure your recovery and not come before the courts again,” she said. She added that busking may not be a long-term solution for him and that he should seek help from agencies such as SCORE to find a stable job.
The maximum penalty for causing hurt to a public servant is a jail term of up to seven years, with fine or caning.
More Singapore stories: