Inmate gets 10 years for stabbing prison officer

Inmate gets 10 years for stabbing prison officer

A prison inmate just a year away from finishing a 12-year jail term will now serve 10 more for a vicious attack on a prison officer that nearly killed the man.

Angry that Assistant Superintendent Jaiy Santosh Annanthan was giving him a "hard time", Kennard Sociago, 53, stabbed the 26-year-old officer with a pair of scissors and punched him repeatedly, a court heard.

The bloody attack left ASP Jaiy Santosh with life-threatening injuries. He was in hospital for a week and on medical leave for a month.

This is understood to be the first case in which an inmate has caused grievous hurt to an officer in the course of his duties.

Yesterday, Sociago was sentenced to 10 years' preventive detention after admitting he carried out the attack on June 26 last year. He was due to have been released in May next year after a 12-year sentence of preventive detention and six strokes imposed in 2003 for various offences.

Preventive detention can involve between seven years and 20 years in prison, and is usually imposed on hardened criminals considered a threat to society.

Inmates under the regime have no chance of early release for good behaviour, unlike ordinary prisoners who can be freed after serving two-thirds of their jail terms.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Sarah Ong told the court that ASP Jaiy Santosh had adopted a strict approach and implemented several new regulations when he began working at the prison complex in January last year.

On June 22, during a surprise check, he confiscated items belonging to Sociago and two other "cookies" - inmates helping with administrative tasks. Items included chocolates, soaps and big paper clips.

Sociago's fellow inmates got their belongings back after explaining they had bought some of them with money they had earned. Sociago neither approached ASP Jaiy Santosh nor retrieved his items, but remained upset about the incident.

Four days later, the officer was checking his e-mail in his office when Sociago and Huang Shi You, 27, came in to work. Huang was in charge of distributing shavers to inmates and took the keys to unlock the tool box to get them.

Sociago then grabbed a pair of scissors from the box and stabbed the prison officer in the back. When ASP Jaiy Santosh fell to the ground, Sociago continued to stab him in the side, ignoring Huang's shouts to stop.

Four prison officers rushed in and saw Sociago raining punches on the ASP and shouting "I kill you, bastard" and "Why you disturb me".

Further investigation showed Sociago felt the officer had been picking on him and that he was unhappy with the officer's attitude and new rules.

Ms Ong urged the court to impose a further term of 12 years' preventive detention. "The offence was clearly not committed on the spur of the moment but out of revenge," she said.

District Judge Low Wee Ping noted Sociago's criminal record was marked by violence and drug-taking. He was also deemed to have a moderate to high risk of re-offending. "What worries this court is that the risk of re-offending relates to violence, and it is for this primary reason that preventive detention should be imposed," he said.

He imposed 10 years, which took effect from yesterday.

This article was published on April 9 in The Straits Times.

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