Man given 21 months' jail, 3 strokes over assault at birthday party

(PHOTO: Getty Images)

Prakkash Balakrishnan was celebrating a friend’s birthday when he ran into an old enemy of his and later slashed the other man with a credit card knife.

The 27-year-old’s assault on G Uthaya Kumar, 24, left the victim with a collapsed lung and a fractured skull.

At the State Courts on Tuesday (17 July), Prakkash was sentenced to 21 months’ jail and three strokes of the cane after he pleaded guilty to one charge of causing grievous hurt to Uthaya. He was also ordered to pay the cost of Uthaya’s medical bills, which amounted to $1,565.99.

Should Prakkash, who is unemployed, be unable to pay the sum he will have to serve an additional two weeks’ jail.

On the night of 3 August last year, Prakkash and his friends visited the Blu Jaz Cafe in Kampong Glam to celebrate a friend’s birthday. At around 10.30pm, Uthaya arrived at the cafe with his own group of friends to join in the celebration.

According to court documents, the group was having an uneventful conversation when Prakkash climbed onto a table and tackled Uthaya with a credit card knife in hand.

Uthaya fell to the ground and Prakkash began raining blows on Uthaya’s head. Prakkash also used the knife to slash the victim’s upper torso. The assault lasted only a few seconds before a bystander intervened.

Prakkash also raised a chair in Uthaya’s direction but was prevented from doing more by others. He later fled the scene and discarded the knife at a construction site near Woodlands MRT.

Uthaya was conveyed to Tan Tock Seng Hospital and was found to have sustained a collapsed lung, which required a chest tube insertion. He also suffered a rear skull fracture and at least five lacerations around his chest and wrist.

Prakkash was traced by the police and arrested the next day.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Zulhafni Zulkeflee, who described the attack as “unprovoked” and unjustified, asked for 21 months’ jail and three strokes of the cane for Prakkash.

The DPP pointed out that a credit card knife – which has a foldable blade concealed in a credit card-sized sheet – has to be assembled before it is used.

Prakkash’s lawyer, T M Sinnadurai, said that his client had been assaulted by Uthaya in a previous encounter. Uthaya had also turned up at the party unexpectedly and taunted Prakkash.

“It was not premeditated and was a spur of the moment incident. (Uthaya) had seemingly invited (Prakkash) to do what he had done when (Uthaya) said ‘Later we go one corner settle this’,” said the lawyer.

“(Uthaya) had also taunted our client by incessantly hurling vulgarities and derogatory remarks towards him, which ultimately caused our client to lose his cool,” he said.

Sinnadurai added that the knife had been lying on the table and belonged to somebody else at the party. The lawyer sought a sentence of not more than 18 months’ jail for Prakkash and also urged the court not to impose caning.

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

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