Condo parking row: Duo face off in court

Condo parking row: Duo face off in court
Mr Jew John Gomez(left), a condominium council member, has taken up a private summons against Mr Goh Siew Khoon(Right).

A condominium's council member has taken up a private summons against a fellow resident in a case involving allegations of assault, after a row over parking spaces.

Council member Jew John Gomez, 51, claims Mr Goh Siew Khoon, 49, shoved him, and kicked him in the shins, in the basement carpark of The Esparis in Pasir Ris on March 21 last year. A police report was made that night but no further action was taken. A year later, Mr Gomez, an IT engineer, hired a lawyer to prosecute on his own.

In a trial starting last week, Mr Goh, a regional manager with an American firm, denied the assault and accused Mr Gomez of framing him because he had occupied his favourite parking spot.

The court heard that Mr Goh moved into The Esparis in late 2012, along with his Land Rover, a trailer and five motorbikes. He told the court he tried to park them at spots that would not cause much inconvenience to other residents.

Two of his motorbikes were put on his trailer parked in a corner of the basement carpark.

Mr Goh said he later found out this was a spot favoured by Mr Gomez, a resident since 2006.

He claimed that Mr Gomez then went on a fault-finding mission to get him to move his trailer out of that particular space.

Mr Goh's lawyer Chia Boon Teck accused Mr Gomez of a "harassment campaign" that saw him instruct condominium security officers to repeatedly paste warning notices on Mr Goh's car for not displaying his carpark transponder on his windscreen.

Mr Goh also claimed that Mr Gomez complained to the Land Transport Authority (LTA) that two of his motorbikes were stolen, as they had no licence plates.

He alleged that Mr Gomez cut his motorcycle canvas cover so that he could take photos of the motorbikes to send to the LTA.

The alleged "harassment" continued with an LTA officer showing up at Mr Goh's door, much to his embarrassment, he said.

Even though Mr Goh provided documents to LTA to prove the legality of his motorbikes, he felt he was being "sabotaged by someone who wanted more" from him.

Mr Goh told the court: "If the individual was concerned with my bikes, he could have just gone to the (management) office to get the information.

"If he is not satisfied, he knows where I stay, and I believe he knows I'm the owner, there are so many things pointing to me as the owner. So I believe that there is more than just trying to find out who owned the vehicles."

He admitted e-mailing the condo's council members to find out who had complained to the LTA that his bikes were stolen.

Mr Gomez told the court that Mr Goh had confronted him when he returned home from work at 9.45pm on March 21 last year.

"He put his face into my face," he said. "I didn't know who he was. But because there were e-mails sent on the few days before that incident, I suspected it might be Mr Goh."

He claimed Mr Goh had used his hands to shove him against the wall and kicked his legs several times, even as he tried to leave the carpark, while warning that he was going to the police.

Mr Gomez also claimed that he e-mailed the LTA merely to find out whether Mr Goh's bikes required any kind of registration. Mr Goh denies causing voluntary hurt to Mr Gomez.

The trial will continue at a later date with two former security guards, two former council members at The Esparis and Mr Goh's wife testifying as Mr Goh's witnesses.

This article was published on Aug 12 in The Straits Times.

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