Briton gets 1 1/2 years' jail for brutal fight

Briton gets 1 1/2 years' jail for brutal fight

A Halloween party at a Newton condominium turned into a real-life nightmare after a fight left 34-year-old Australian Ronald Tan with a fractured skull.

Hospitalised for 24 days, Mr Tan suffered from epilepsy seizures and his speech and memory were affected. He died 14 months later from an unrelated condition.

Thursday, James Daniel Rhodes, a 36-year-old from Britain, was jailed for 1-1/2 years for causing grievous hurt.

But the former bank analyst with Credit Suisse, who was also ordered to pay Mr Tan's mother $32,000 in compensation for medical and travel expenses among other things, is appealing against the conviction and sentence.

District Judge Eddy Tham, in sending Rhodes to prison, noted that Mr Tan, a sales executive, sustained a very serious injury which caused a lot of pain and stress.

Mr Tan died from a damaged heart valve in Batam on Dec 24, 2011.

"The sentence must reflect the serious consequences of the brutal attack," said the judge, who could have jailed Rhodes for up to 10 years, and fined or caned him.

During the eight-day trial, the court heard from Deputy Public Prosecutor Sanjiv Vaswani how Rhodes had been invited by a friend to the party on Oct 23, 2010 at The Spinnaker condominium at Suffolk Road.

He got into an argument there with Mr Tan. He was told to leave but traded blows in the lift with Briton Guy Anderson Steward, who was hosting the party with compatriot Kevin Michael Hubbard. Both are interior designers.

Rhodes was brought back to the apartment to change his bloodied shirt for a fresh one but while being ushered out again, he assaulted Mr Hubbard before punching Mr Tan in the face.

A party guest testified that the victim landed very heavily on his back with a "very bad noise". "It was like a watermelon bursting," she told the court.

Rhodes, who was also convicted of punching Mr Hubbard and is out on bail of $25,000, was arrested the next day. His lawyer Sunil Sudheesan had argued that his client felt threatened at the party and had reacted in fear for his life.


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