Drunk passenger who fractured 68-year-old female cabby's spine jailed six months

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A drunk passenger who fractured an elderly female taxi driver’s spine after he refused to pay his cab fare, was sentenced to six months’ jail on Tuesday (10 July).

Asri Mohamed, a 40-year-old chef, admitted to one count of causing grievous hurt through a rash act and one count of disorderly behaviour on Tuesday (10 July). He was also ordered to pay compensation of $3,938.66 in medical bills and loss of earnings toTay Yong Lee, 68, who was incapacitated for weeks.

Another count of attempting to cause hurt to Tay by swinging his phone at her face and one of being abusive to a police officer were taken into consideration for his sentence.

On 31 May 2017, Asri had consumed three pints of beer and a bottle of whiskey at a pub he worked at along Tanjong Katong Road. At around midnight, he hailed Tay’s taxi and asked to be taken to Bedok North Road.

When the taxi arrived at the location, Tay found that Asri had fallen asleep. When she woke him up,

Asri alighted without paying. Tay tried to stop him and called the police for assistance.

During the exchange, Asri became aggressive and shouted at Tay in Malay. He gesticulated wildly while holding onto his phone, which brushed Tay’s left cheek. Tay had managed to dodge the blow by moving her head backwards.

Asri then shoved Tay’s shoulders, causing the woman to fall from the pavement onto the road. She landed on her back and head and struggled to get up thereafter. Asri did not bother helping Tay up despite seeing her struggle, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Gabriel Lim.

Police officers arrived at about 1.34am and saw Asri shouting at Tay. Asri was placed under arrest as he continued shouting despite police warnings.

‘Alcohol is no excuse for my actions’

Tay, who was conveyed to Changi General Hospital, was diagnosed with a fracture of her spine and warded for five days. She was also given 42 days of medical leave for her injuries.

Tay was informed by the doctor that she would require two to three months to recover and was unable to work during that period. She continued to feel pain in her lower back and had to wear a back brace at the time.

Tay’s medical bills amounted to $2,188.66. She also lost $1,750 in earnings from being unable to work for 25 days.

Addressing the court, Asri said he was remorseful. “I admit alcohol is no excuse for my actions but I am sorry for causing harm to the lady,” said Asri, who was represented by Criminal Legal Aid Scheme lawyer Shaneet Rai.

In mitigation, Rai said Asri supported his parents and left school when he was 14 years old to work. He was depressed and an alcoholic at the time of the offences, added the lawyer.

However, District Judge Mathew Joseph had harsh words for Asri.

“Your actions are disgraceful and despicable. If you want to drink and find yourself unable to control yourself, you jolly well walk home. (Tay) will carry these injuries for the rest of her life,” said DJ Joseph, who noted that Tay was nearly old enough to be Asri’s mother.

For his offence, Asri could have been jailed up to four years, and/or fined up to $10,000.

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