Jailed for assaulting people without reason

SINGAPORE - A serial offender who physically assaulted strangers on five different occasions "for no apparent reason" was yesterday sentenced to 14 months in prison.

Random acts committed by Gwee Eng Poh last year against his victims included pouring a cup of hot water on one, and pushing another's head and causing it to hit a toilet tap.

The unemployed man, 35, pleaded guilty to one charge of voluntarily causing hurt, and a second where the injury was grievous.

Gwee punched two men and hit a third on the head with a beer bottle. Three charges arising from these incidents were taken into consideration.

In sentencing Gwee, District Judge Lim Keng Yeow noted that the incidents were not isolated, but rather a series of similar offences.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Mansoor Amir said it was "fortuitous" Gwee's victims had not suffered more serious injuries.

His lawyer Ramesh Tiwary said Gwee has had difficulty holding down a job because of his mental issues. These include a history of paranoid schizophrenia and anti-social personality disorder.

The court heard that while Gwee was a patient at the Institute of Mental Health on June 4 last year, he pushed the head of a fellow patient from behind in the toilet without warning.

The 39-year-old victim, who was washing his mouth over a sink, hit his head on a tap. Besides fractures, his other injuries included a laceration over the right eyebrow, and he also suffered an eye infection.

About three weeks later, Gwee patronised the 7-Eleven convenience store along Choa Chu Kang Avenue 3 and bought a cup of water to have with his dinner.

Unable to finish the drink, he decided to throw the remainder away. This was when he noticed a 16-year-old student chatting with a friend outside the outlet and poured the water over him, causing superficial burns on his shoulder and cheek.

Gwee had previous convictions for voluntarily causing hurt, robbery and theft in dwelling.

He could have been jailed seven years, fined and caned for voluntarily causing hurt with a heated substance. For voluntarily causing grievous hurt, the maximum penalty is 10 years in jail, and a fine or caning.

This article was first published on May 28, 2014.
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