A man will go to jail for letting his anger get the better of him, while he was on the way to lunch with his wife and son one Saturday afternoon.
When a taxi driver honked at him for cutting into his lane on Rivervale Drive in Sengkang on Nov 3, 2012, Chia Liang Hoe, 63, a defence executive officer (DXO), was so upset that he tailed the cabby, Mr Lok Heng Leong.
He then confronted Mr Lok when the cabby stopped at Block 158A, Rivervale Crescent to wait for a passenger.
There, Chia pulled up beside the taxi, got out and shouted aggressively at Mr Lok, who was then 43.
During the heated confrontation, Chia's wife, Madam Ang Chia Kay, 60, got between her husband and the taxi to prevent him from striking the cabby.
But Chia later pulled the taxi door open and kicked Mr Lok in the chest.
Madam Ang also tried to reach into the cab to stop Mr Lok from filming the incident on his mobile phone.
The situation was resolved only when an off-duty policeman, who heard the commotion from his flat, went down to see what was happening.
Yesterday, District Judge Brenda Tan sentenced Chia to four weeks' jail for causing hurt to Mr Lok after a nine-day trial in November last year.
The judge said in her grounds of decision that Chia's claim to be only a bit upset with Mr Lok was not true.
"The accused had to make not one, but two U-turns in order to confront Mr Lok," she pointed out.
"This is a lot of effort to 'clarify' the matter for someone who is only 'a little upset'."
Instead, Judge Tan said Chia must have been "extremely angry, if not outright furious and enraged".
Judge Tan also said Chia's then teenage son Nigel, who was with his parents during the incident, was an unreliable witness.
For example, Nigel, who is now serving his national service, claimed his dad never kicked the taxi driver even though he was typing an SMS on his mobile phone at that time.
Chia has been in the army for more than 30 years. DXOs are non-uniformed officers who are specialists in a wide array of skills.
Chia's lawyer, Mr Bala Murugan, said in mitigation that his client would lose his annual bonus and benefits as a result of his conviction.
"His contract with the Army is unlikely to be renewed," said Mr Bala.
"At his age, it would be difficult for him to be gainfully employed."
Mr Bala also claimed that Chia had been provoked by the taxi driver who pointed his middle finger at him and repeatedly filmed Chia during the confrontation.
For the offence, Chia could have been jailed up to two years and fined up to $5,000.
This article was first published on January 16, 2015.
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