Singapore, Nov 27, 2023
A 33-year-old Indian-origin man was sentenced to four years in jail on Monday for hitting another man to death following an altercation while they were travelling in a taxi in July 2020.
Sakthivel Sivasurian was convicted last month of one charge of voluntarily causing hurt to Manjunatha Louis Ravi, who fell and died in hospital five days later from neck and head injuries, The Straits Times newspaper reported.
According to court documents, Manjunatha, a woman, Sakthivel and Sakthivel’s wife were in a taxi on the way to Gangsa Road at around 11 p.m. when a dispute arose between the attacker and the victim.
During the altercation, Manjunatha fell and hit his head on the ground, and was unable to get up on his own. He was taken to a hospital where a scan revealed bleeding on the surface of his brain, along with brain swelling and a suggestion of brain damage.
An autopsy showed that Manjunatha had a small crack in the bone above his left eye, and a displacement in his spine, The Times reported.
In a trial that lasted 16 days, the defence told the court that the initial injury Manjunatha had from the fall was not fatal. Instead, it was when Sakthivel tried to pick him up and dropped him was the initial injury was aggravated and resulted in his death.
Sakthivel claimed that after Manjunatha was hit, he took several steps backwards while still facing Sakthivel before stepping on uneven ground and falling.
District Judge James Elisha Lee accepted the evidence from Sakthivel’s lawyer that Manjunatha had been dropped twice when Sakthivel and a woman were trying to lift him after he had fallen to the ground. But he expressed reasonable doubt whether Manjunatha would have died from the initial injury from the fall had he not been “dropped and manhandled”.
“While the dropping and manhandling of the victim after the fall may have aggravated his initial injury, the situation had arisen purely as a result of the fall. If not for the fall, and the victim’s inability to get up on his own thereafter, (the two of them) would not have attempted to lift or move him,” Judge Lee was quoted as saying in The Straits Times.
“In fact, if not for the (injury) sustained by the victim from the fall, the dropping and manhandling of the victim per se would not have resulted in his death.”
Lee also sentenced Sakthivel to another two weeks’ jail for a separate charge of giving false information to a public servant while out on bail, to which Sakthivel had previously pleaded guilty.(Agency)