Appeal notice filed against rioter's sentence

Appeal notice filed against rioter's sentence

The Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) has filed the first notice of appeal against the sentence of one of the 15 men convicted so far for their roles in last December's Little India riot.

An AGC spokesman told The Straits Times the appeal notice was filed yesterday against the 25-month jail sentence of Indian national Samiyappan Sellathurai, who was convicted last week of rioting. Samiyappan, 42, admitted to removing a concrete slab from a kerb with the help of others he had egged on, then smashing it, and hurling the pieces of concrete at police cars, emergency vehicles and public servants.

He later picked up a metal rack and rammed it repeatedly against a side wall of the Little India MRT station with three others, in apparent efforts to bring the wall down.

Assistant Public Prosecutor Dillon Kok had urged the court to mete out a jail term of 24 to 30 months and three strokes of the cane for his "brazen display of lawlessness" and role as an "instigator". But Senior District Judge Ong Hian Sun sentenced him to 25 months in prison, without commenting on the lack of caning in his decision.

Defence counsel Rajan Supramaniam said then that the sentence was fair, and caning would have been "unduly harsh".

Both sides had up to two weeks after sentencing to make appeals, and the prosecution in this case chose to take up this option - the first time the AGC is fighting the sentencing in relation to the 15 riot convictions thus far. With the notice of appeal filed, Judge Ong would be informed and his grounds of decision with respect to the case would be sent to the AGC, which must then decide if it would proceed with the appeal.

A total of 25 men, all Indian nationals, were charged with rioting in Little India. Six have been convicted of rioting, with the toughest sentence being 33 months' jail and three strokes of the cane.

This article was first published on August 19, 2014.
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