A Pub owner yesterday pumped his fist and shed tears of relief after he was sentenced to four years' jail for fatally stabbing a drunk and violent patron who had attacked him first.
Prosecutors had sought at least 12 years' jail and caning for Low Chuan Woo, 45, arguing that his actions were "wholly disproportionate" even though it was the patron, Mr Mohamed Iskandar Ishak, 45, who had started the fight.
But High Court judge Tay Yong Kwang accepted the defence's arguments that Low had acted to defend himself from Mr Iskandar, who was 37kg heavier and was behaving aggressively.
Justice Tay said Low was literally minding his own business when Mr Iskandar started the unfortunate chain of events that led to his own death.
"With the deceased behaving the way that he did that night... it was not surprising that the accused eventually felt he had no choice but to arm himself," said Justice Tay. He said Low had shown restraint while trying to appease the patron; his only "wrong and foolish" move was to find a knife after breaking free from Mr Iskandar's hold and return to the fight scene to confront the patron.
The judge did not impose caning on Low, who pleaded guilty to culpable homicide yesterday.
On Jan 14 last year, Mr Iskandar and two relatives visited Low's pub in Changi Village, Ramesses Entertainment. They had beer and whiskey and also bought drinks for a few Filipino women working there as "performing artistes".
As the night went on, Mr Iskandar became agitated when one of the women refused to drink a tequila shot he had bought for her. He demanded to see the boss. Low, who was outside, went in to pacify him. But Mr Iskandar hurled vulgarities at him and splashed tequila in the woman's face.
When Low tried to reason with him, the patron grabbed hold of his neck and dragged him out by the back door. They ended up across the carpark, where Mr Iskandar continued to be aggressive and punched a bartender, who was also trying to calm him down. He then tried to push Low's head against an iron gate but the pub owner broke free.
Low ran into the pub, took a knife from the bar counter and ran back out to confront Mr Iskandar. In the ensuing fight, Low stabbed him once in the upper arm and once in the back.
Low went back to the pub, threw the knife in the sink, grabbed a billiards cue and went back to Mr Iskandar, but did not assault him again. Mr Iskandar died in hospital shortly after midnight.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Bagchi Anamika argued that Low turned aggressor when he went back to confront Mr Iskandar with a knife instead of running to safety or calling the police.
Low's lawyer, Mr Ram Goswami, said that Mr Iskandar, who weighed 97kg and stood at 1.7m, posed a danger to his client's life.
Low was also jailed an additional eight months on separate charges relating to him running the pub as a brothel and living on immoral earnings.
This article was first published on May 24, 2014.
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