Italian restaurant owner jailed for attacking cabby

An italian restaurant owner who has worked in some of Europe's top eateries was sentenced to two weeks in jail yesterday for attacking a taxi driver.

Donnino Rossetti, 44, pleaded guilty to causing hurt by punching Mr Toh Chee Keong and kicking him in the groin in a row over the route he had taken. District Judge Soh Tze Bian ordered the permanent resident to pay $500 in compensation to the 36-year-old cabby.

At about 2am on June 18 last year, Rossetti asked Mr Toh to drive him from Club Street, where he runs Noti Restaurant & Bar, to Bedok North Street 3. About half an hour later, the cabby exited from East Coast Parkway towards Bedok South Avenue, and Rossetti asked him why he took that route.

Mr Toh pointed to a road sign stating "Bedok North Street 3", but Rossetti shouted at him and hurled vulgarities, the court heard. As Mr Toh made a right turn, Rossetti pushed his head.

Mr Toh, who had earlier noticed his passenger smelled of alcohol, stopped the car and got out to ask Rossetti why he had pushed him, and to call the police as he feared for his safety. Rossetti alighted and slammed the door before punching Mr Toh in the face, cutting his lip.

He then walked away.

When Mr Toh asked why he was punched, Rossetti turned around and kicked him in the groin.

Urging the court to impose a fine instead, Rossetti's lawyer Kirpal Singh said his client's 27-year career had taken him to esteemed restaurants such as The Savoy in London and Hotel de Paris in Monaco.

Rossetti began working in Singapore in 2006, first at Grand Hyatt, before joining Resorts World Sentosa. He opened his own restaurant in 2012.

Counsel highlighted that the victim's injuries were not serious, but Judge Soh said the rationale behind imposing a jail sentence in such cases was the need to protect public transport workers.

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