Judge: Road hooliganism not tolerated

Judge: Road hooliganism not tolerated

A district judge made it clear that road hooliganism must never be tolerated, in condemning the conduct of a motorcyclist who traumatised a couple in a road rage case.

District Judge Hamidah Ibrahim, who had sentenced motorcyclist James Palin to three weeks' jail on Oct 28, stated this in judgment grounds released early this month after the Briton filed an appeal against the decision.

Palin, 33, a former regional director of a recruitment firm, punched the window of a Volkswagen car in Tanjong Katong Road in November last year, shattering the glass, which cut the couple inside.

The spat started when Palin hit the bumper of the car driven by Chiang Pak Chien, 43, while overtaking him.

Mr Chiang then overtook Palin, who sped past him again and braked immediately in front of the car. Mr Chiang braked to avoid crashing into the motorcycle.

Palin then walked over to the driver's side and punched the car window. The shattered glass cut Mr Chiang and his wife, Valerie Tan, 42.

She screamed and Palin left on his motorcycle. Ms Tan and her husband both suffered cuts on their bodies and faces.

More significant were the post-traumatic stress disorder injuries suffered by Ms Tan, which included insomnia, panic anxiety and poor appetite, according to psychiatric reports.

Explaining her decision, the judge said "those persons who resort to violence because they were unhappy with other road users who cross their path must bear the full brunt of the law".

Even if what Mr Chiang did was a "tad inconsiderate", Palin's rash reaction in punching the car window and endangering those in the vehicle was excessive, she aded.

Assistant Public Prosecutor Koh Huimin had sought more than three weeks' jail while Palin's lawyer, Shashi Nathan, urged that a fine be imposed instead as Palin was genuinely remorseful and a first-time offender.

Palin also offered to pay the couple's medical expenses, but they declined.

However, the judge pointed out that Palin "just rode away" after the incident and offered no help.

"The expression of remorse being genuine sounded hollow in the light of what has happened, and it appeared to me that it was just a standard, run-of-the-mill mitigating factor added for good measure and nothing more," said the judge, adding that she had exercised "some leniency" in jailing Palin three weeks.

Palin has withdrawn his appeal and began his jail term on Nov 7.


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