Man found guilty of spitting at women at bus interchange

Man found guilty of spitting at women at bus interchange
Juraimi Kamaludin's conduct was way disproportionate to whatever provocation or affront he said he had received, said the judge.

SINGAPORE - The man who spat at two women at the Woodlands bus interchange last October was convicted of five charges on Wednesday after a three-day trial.

District Judge Lim Keng Yeow said this case involved an initial misunderstanding, followed by conduct on the part of Juraimi Kamaludin that was way disproportionate to whatever provocation or affront he said he had received.

The 48-year-old cleaner was on trial for causing annoyance to the public; spitting at Ms Teoh Lay Peng, 41, and forcefully pushing her out of the front door of the bus; and two counts of spitting at Ms Lee Kuan Eng, 34, a total of six times on Oct 22.

He will be sentenced on Friday.

It had all began when Ms Teoh accused Juraimi of cutting the queue when he rejoined the line after leaving for a while to get a drink.

"Where a calm explanation would have cleared the air, Mr Juraimi got very offended at being falsely accused of queue-cutting," said Judge Lim.

He accepted Ms Teoh's evidence, supported by closed-circuit television footage, that Juraimi spat at her while they argued.

After boarding the bus, Ms Teoh wanted to get off to call the police. As she was alighting, Juraimi pushed her off the bus.

The judge rejected Juraimi's account that Ms Teoh "ran down" the bus and that he did not push her. Juraimi then quarrelled with other commuters, who wanted him to get off.

When Juraimi alighted, he spat at Ms Lee six times. He claimed that the secretary had scolded him using words that included "stupid Malay".

But the judge said those words did not appear in any of his police statements.

Even if Ms Lee did use words that offended him, that would, at best, be purely mitigatory, he said.

"The other words complained of by Mr Juraimi do not even amount to grave and sudden provocation as his reaction was far disproportionate to them.

"There was a misunderstanding of Mr Juraimi's actions and that was unfortunate. But Mr Juraimi had over-reacted in the situation, committing the offences I find him guilty of," he said.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Francis Zhang Zeyi had sought a total of four months and two weeks' jail on four charges and the maximum $1,000 fine for the public nuisance charge.

Pleading for leniency, Juraimi, who has a string of non-violent offences dating from 1983, said he had lost his job, his fiancee and let down his 83-year-old mother.

"I hope this is going to be a lesson to (sic) me, and I really, really regret what I did," he said.

elena@sph.com.sg


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