SINGAPORE: A secret society member involved in a group attack that killed a man at St James Power Station two years ago was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years' jail and eight strokes of the cane on Tuesday (May 14).
Part-time mover Muhammad Faizal Md Jamal, now 24, was part of a group of four men who were in a secret society.
He had been called to the scene to help "avenge" his friend and co-accused Shawalludin Sa'adon, 28, a waiter at Postbar club at St James Power Station in Sentosa Gateway, on the early morning of Mar 12, 2017.
Shawalludin had been working that day when he got into an argument with the victims - Satheesh Kumar Managoran, 34, and his 29-year-old cousin Naveen Lal Pillar - over a liquor bottle they had placed on the floor.
When Shawalludin told them that the bottle should not be left there, the three began arguing until Shawalludin's supervisors stepped in and told him to step out of the bar, which made him feel "aggrieved".
Shawalludin then contacted his friend and co-accused, Muhammad Hisham Hassan, 28, and told him that he wanted to rally members of their secret society at Postbar to confront Mr Satheesh and Mr Naveen.
Faizal arrived at St James Power Station with Hisham and the last co-accused, Muhammad Khalid Kamarudin, who faces the most serious charge of murder.
The group waited for police officers in the area to leave. Hisham left the group to make some phone calls, and the remaining three men approached Mr Satheesh and Mr Naveen, who were talking near an Uber car.
Shawalludin began arguing with Mr Satheesh, while Khalid punched him on the face and stabbed him on his forehead, the back of his head and in his back.
Faizal and Shawalludin punched and kicked Mr Satheesh all over his body, until Mr Satheesh staggered towards the back of the car before falling on the road, the court heard.
The men continued punching and kicking Mr Satheesh, turning to attack his cousin after they were done with him.
Their assault was witnessed by a large crowd that had gathered in the area, as it was closing time for most of the pubs there.
FAIZAL EVADED ARREST FOR 63 HOURS, HID IN FOUR FLATS
After the attacks the men left the scene, alerting Hisham about the fight. Khalid and Faizal went to a flat in Aljunied where they stayed for several hours, before going to another flat in Yishun.
From there, Faizal fled to a third flat in Ghim Moh before going to another in Bukit Batok.
He evaded arrest for about 63 hours, or almost three days, before the police raided the Bukit Batok flat on Mar 14, 2017, and arrested Faizal.
His accomplices had been arrested a day before at the Yishun flat.
Mr Satheesh died from wounds to his head and back, while his cousin Mr Naveen suffered a 5cm laceration on the back of his head and was given six days of outpatient medical leave.
Faizal pleaded guilty on Tuesday to one charge of voluntarily causing grievous hurt to Mr Satheesh by common intention, with a second charge of hurting Mr Naveen taken into consideration. He had originally faced a murder charge along with all three co-accused.
"NEEDLESS DEATH OVER TRIVIAL ISSUE": PROSECUTION
Deputy Public Prosecutors Wong Kok Weng, Kelly Ho and Andre Chong asked for a sentence of at least nine years' jail and eight strokes of the cane, saying that Mr Satheesh had "suffered a needless death after a prolonged and unprovoked attack over a trivial issue".
Mr Wong added that Faizal was motivated "by nothing less than revenge", rallying with his other accomplices in response to a "perceived slight" to Shawalludin.
The assault was sustained, involved group violence and Faizal evaded arrest for 63 hours, demonstrating "complete contempt for authority", said Mr Wong.
Faizal's defence lawyer, Mr Ragbir Singh Bajwa, told the court that while his client was aware that Khalid had a foldable knife, when he asked Khalid why he had brought the knife, Khalid said "just bring only".
He urged the judge to take into account that Faizal's knowledge of Khalid having a knife was coupled with "his own mental framework which is that this knife is going to be used only in self-defence".
The lawyer also asked the court to take Faizal's age - he was 22 at the time of the offence - into account.
"It was not his quarrel," said Mr Bajwa.
FAIZAL KNEW KHALID WAS GOING TO USE THE KNIFE: JUDGE
Judicial Commissioner Audrey Lim said Faizal had gone to the scene to avenge Shawalludin's grievance.
Even though he may initially have thought that Khalid's knife was meant for self-defence, he later knew that Khalid intended to use it to attack Mr Satheesh's group, but continued to join in the attack anyway, said the judge.
She agreed with the prosecution that the offence "engendered much public disquiet and occurred in full view of the public", but also noted that Faizal was not the one who had initiated the confrontation, and that he had not brought the knife to the scene nor personally inflicted the stab wounds.
She also took into account that Faizal pleaded guilty and has no previous related convictions.
"The deceased had done nothing towards the accused to warrant such a response from and attack from him," said the judge. "A life has been lost."
She allowed Faizal 10 minutes to speak to his family after the hearing.
Of Faizal's accomplices, Shawalludin was sentenced to five-and-a-half years' jail and six strokes of the cane, Hisham was given 18 months' jail, and Khalid faces a murder charge.
He is set to go to trial in July.