Man in spitting case jailed 5 weeks

SINGAPORE - The man convicted of spitting at two women was sentenced to five weeks in jail last Friday, but was nevertheless so moved by the trial judge's empathy that he broke down in court.

District Judge Lim Keng Yeow advised Juraimi Kamaludin to focus on the next few years to lead a crime-free life. "I want to see, after three years, that you are living a normal, good productive life. I hope to see all this - you are doing well, suitable job, doing well outside, no trouble, no offences.

"At least come back here and look for me then," he told the 48-year-old cleaner, who was so touched that he cried in the dock.

Juraimi said: "No one ever said that to me. Since you are a judge... I am very, very happy and grateful. I will see you."

Judge Lim, who sentenced him to five weeks in jail and an $800 fine, said he knew Juraimi was sincere, having been in and out of jail. Juraimi, who had mainly theft and drug-related convictions previously, told the judge he had stayed out of trouble since his release from jail in October 2011.

That was until Oct 22 last year at the Woodlands bus interchange.

He was convicted of being a public nuisance; spitting at customer service officer Teoh Lay Peng, 41, and forcefully pushing her out of the bus; and spitting at secretary Lee Kuan Eng, 34, a total of six times within 10 minutes.

In passing sentence, Judge Lim said he considered that the incident came about as Juraimi felt unjustly accused of cutting into the queue, and gave it considerable weight. "But even if that is so, your response was clearly excessive, your actions were shocking, your conduct was wholly unjustifiable," he said.

He found that even if Ms Lee used vulgar words on Juraimi, they did not immediately provoke the spitting, but it was what happened at the platform that led to the act. He said videos showed Juraimi shouting at Ms Lee "in a highly confrontational and aggressive manner, calling her 'you idiot' three times". But Ms Lee was not heard to use any of the words he alleged, except "bloody hell".

Clearly infuriated by those words, Juraimi spat at her the first time.

Judge Lim concluded that the spitting did not occur as a result of Juraimi being provoked by the words he alleged Ms Lee said. He went on to spit at her repeatedly, though she did not retaliate. He found "very troubling" Juraimi's assertion that he would have gone further if Ms Lee were male.

Judge Lim asked Juraimi if he could stay out of jail and trouble for at least 2 1/2 years. Juraimi said he was "very, very confident" of not going to jail again, not just for 21/2 to three years, but "forever".

"I want to get on with my life. After this, I am going to get married and settle down," he added.

Judge Lim said: "I hope it is forever."

He urged Juraimi to focus on staying out of trouble for the first three years.

Juraimi replied: "I can. I promise you that." Judge Lim said: "I want to hold you to that promise. I want to look forward to seeing you in three years."

A disorderly behaviour charge committed earlier in August was considered during his sentencing.

Juraimi could have been jailed up to three months and/or fined up to $1,500 on each charge of using criminal force on the women he spat at. For committing an act so rashly as to endanger the personal safety of others, he could have been jailed up to six months and/or fined up to $2,500.

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