When approached by two police officers who only wanted to talk to him, a man threw thinner at them, causing chemical burns to their faces and mild cornea erosion in one of the officer’s eyes.
Rajeandiran Packirisawmy, 51, was in a state of psychosis after having sniffed the thinner that he threw at the officers, said Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Sarah Ong.
After the unprovoked attack, Rajeandiran continued to resist arrest and hurt police officers until he was subdued.
On Monday (25 June), Rajeandiran was sentenced to three years and 10 months’ jail after he pleaded guilty to three counts of causing hurt to public servants and had two counts of a similar nature considered for his sentence.
The facts of the case
On 29 August last year, a man called the police complaining that Rajeandiran was hitting his banana trees with a broken umbrella at 33 Bendeemer Road. Four officers were then dispatched to the scene.
Two officers, Sergeant Muhammad Suhendi Suet and Sergeant Muhammad Alif Alias approached Rajeandiran in “a friendly manner”, said DPP Ong, while Rajeandiran walked towards them holding a glass bottle wrapped in an opaque plastic bag.
Without warning, Rajeandiran splashed the contents of the bottle onto Suhendi’s face. The liquid, later established to be thinner, got into the officer’s eyes and mouth, causing a burning sensation. Suhendi retreated from Rajeandiran while crying in pain.
Rajeandiran then splashed the liquid at Alif, burning his mouth. Alif attempted to taser Rajeandiran but failed. Rajeandiran then threw the thinner bottle at Alif, who dodged it.
When the two other officers asked Rajeandiran to drop to the ground, Rajeandiran instead lit a cigarette and smoked it.
When Suhendi, who managed to wash his eyes and mouth in a resident’s flat, moved in to arrest Rajeandiran, the latter hit him on the face before being handcuffed. Even after he was handcuffed, Rajeandiran said to Suhendi, “Eh, melayu (Malay)” and kicked him in the shin.
The incident, which occurred from 12.38pm to 12.41pm, was captured by the police officers’ body-worn cameras.
Suhendi suffered chemical injury to both eyes and was later diagnosed with mild corneal erosion in the left eye. The officer has since fully recovered from the incident.
Alif suffered from superficial injuries to the inside of his mouth and a thumb injury as a result of the struggle.
A long history of antecedents
Rajeandiran has a long list of offences dating back to 1986, including criminal intimidation, breaching personal protection orders and committing mischief, as well as a history of alcohol use and inhalant abuse.
He had been in and out of prison over the past four years, spending only months as a free man before being hauled back to prison, said DPP Ong.
He committed the present set of offences only three days after his last release from jail for violence-related offences, DPP Ong told the court. In addition to his sentence for the current offences, Rajeandiran will have to serve 94 days of jail for reoffending while on remission.
DPP Ong asked for 48 months’ jail for Rajeandiran. She noted that while Rajeandiran was in a state of psychosis when he committed the offences, he voluntarily placed himself in that condition.
His Criminal Legal Aid Scheme-assigned lawyer, Joel Yeow, said that the attack was “short-lived” and occurred in the spur of the moment. He added that the injuries caused to the officers were minor and that Rajeandiran had pleaded guilty “at the first instance”. The lawyer sought a jail term of 36 months for his client.
Apologising to the court, Rajeandiran said he did not have family support and had “lost” his mind when he bought the thinner. He also felt stressed at the time.