SINGAPORE — A man who attacked a 10-year-old boy for bullying his son was jailed seven weeks on Monday (29 April).
Adjunct teacher Tan Chin Tai pleaded guilty at the State Courts to one count of voluntarily causing hurt. The 43-year-old, who also works at a tuition centre, had confronted the boy at his son’s school and shoved him against a wall, leaving the child with a small fracture on one of his ribs.
Tan’s lawyer, Cory Wong, said that the boy had been bullying his client's son since early 2017 by using vulgarities and taunting him. The boy also threatened to hit other children who spoke to the client's son.
‘I can bully you’
Tan Chin Tai committed the offence while picking his son up from school at around 1.15pm on 7 July 2017.
When he spotted the victim heading towards the school’s gate with a student care staff member, he approached the boy.
Tan then grabbed the boy’s schoolbag and pushed the him towards a nearby rubbish shed. He then shoved the boy against a wall and scolded him.
“Just because you are bigger in size, you can bully others,” Tan told the boy.
“Since you can bully my son, I can bully you.”
Following the incident, the boy experienced pain in his left chest and visited the hospital. He was found to have sustained a small fracture on one of his left ribs.
He was discharged on the same day and given painkillers. Tan has since paid $229.50 in compensation to the boy.
Bullying escalated after incident
According to Wong, the bullying got to a point where the father considered switching his son to a different school. The accused had earlier reported the bullying to the school but this did not stop the bullying.
“(The father) was instead told that the victim had anger management issues, and felt that his concerns were being brushed aside.
“True enough, the school remained ineffective in doing anything to stop the bullying,” said Wong who is from Invictus Law.
The victim’s bullying also escalated after the incident, with him calling the accused a “murderer” to his son’s face, the lawyer said, adding that the son had been ostracised by his schoolmates.
The boy had also told the accused’s son, “Your father confirm go to jail (sic). My mother is going to sue until you bankrupt (sic).”
Wong pointed out that the accused’s actions were not premeditated. Tan had simply wanted to “engage constructively and verbally with the victim”, however the victim had “very cockily ignored” him.
“In the heat of the moment, and being a loving father who would staunchly protect his son’s interests, the above drove (Tan) to act out of character,” said the lawyer.
In mitigation, Wong asked for fine of not more than $5,000 for his client. For voluntarily causing hurt, Tan could have been jailed up to two years and faced a possible fine of up to $5,000.
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