Man who committed rash act that led to father's death jailed for 1 year, fined $5,000 for air pistol possession
SINGAPORE - A businessman convicted of committing a rash act that led to his father's death was jailed for a year on Thursday (Aug 24).
He also pleaded guilty to one count of being in possession of 13 air pistols, and was fined $5,000 on Thursday as well.
Mark Tan Peng Liat, now 31, was originally accused of committing culpable homicide not amounting to murder after putting Mr Tan Kok Keng, 67, in a necklock and a chokehold in their home in West Coast Rise on Feb 10, 2015.
But after a nine-day trial, District Judge Eddy Tham found him guilty of the reduced charge on June 8.
In his grounds of decision, Judge Tham noted that Mark Tan had attempted to restrain his father by hooking his right arm around the older man's neck.
He had also gripped his father's neck around the collarbone with his left hand.
Stressing he had no doubt Mark Tan's intention was to restrain and stop his father from assaulting him, the judge said: "Given the volatility of the situation, where the accused had applied a form of restraint which he had been taught and exercised before, I found it difficult to say that it is proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused knew that his acts were likely to cause death.
"I found that the accused had instead committed an act so recklessly that it would amount to what is considered a rash act."
The judge said that shortly before the fatal incident, Mr Tan Kok Keng had rung his son and told him to return home.
During the trial, the court heard he had discovered his son had been withdrawing large sums from their joint account without telling him, and he wanted to confront him about it.
When Mark Tan arrived home, his father accused him of stealing his money. This led to a scuffle in Mr Tan Kok Keng's bedroom and bathroom on the second floor of the semi-detached house.
Judge Tham had said: "The arm was initially over the chest, but it quickly slipped into the neck area as (Mr Tan Kok Keng) was not wearing his shirt and his body was slippery with perspiration.
"The accused also used his left hand to press down on (Mr Tan Kok Keng's) neck area around the collarbone, using the side of his index finger and the thumb forming a V-shape over the neck in order to hold (his) head in position."
The older man struggled to break free but soon stopped moving.
In the meantime, his Indonesian maid, Ms Sumarti Dwi Ambarwati, had rushed to the nearby home of Mark Tan's aunt, Madam Tan Hoon Choo, to tell her about the fight.
In July last year, Madam Tan, 72, testified that she hurried over to their house and found her nephew outside looking "very bewildered and lost".
They went to check on Mr Tan Kok Keng, and found him lying face up with his mouth open.
An ambulance was called and attempts to resuscitate were made unsuccessfully by the paramedics when they subsequently arrived at the house.
Mr Tan Kok Keng was subsequently pronounced dead at the hospital.
Forensic pathologist Lee Chin Thye found he had died from his neck being manually pressed on, with a hypertensive heart disease Mr Tan Kok Keng was suffering from contributing to his death.
Judge Tham said: "The restraint, in my view, even for a few minutes, clearly would be sufficient to cause resultant and irreparable harm which, unfortunately, did ensue in the present case."
The prosecution has filed an appeal against the judge's decision to reduce the culpable homicide charge.
The court also heard on Thursday that Mark Tan intends to file an appeal against the conviction and sentence of the offence involving the rash act.
He was offered a bail of $50,000 pending the appeals.
For committing the rash act, Mark Tan could have been jailed up to five years and fined.
Offenders convicted of culpable homicide not amounting to murder can be jailed up to 10 years, and fined or caned.