43 year-old NUS assistant law professor Sundram Peter Soosay went on trial yesterday on charges of assaulting a 70 year-old taxi driver in the early hours of Christmas Day last year.
Sundram had boarded Mr Sun’s taxi early on Christmas Day morning drunk. He later vomited in the taxi. After that, Sundram tried to alight along Clementi Road without paying his fare. Mr Sun had to chase after Sundram and threaten to call the police before Sundram reluctantly handed out a $50 note.
But when Mr Sun went back to his taxi to get his change, Sundram struck Mr Sun from behind and straddled him, raining blows on the helpless old man’s face and head repeatedly. An eye witness saw the scuffle between the men and although he was uncertain who started it, he intervened as he saw that Mr Sun had no way to defend himself.
When District Judge Victor Yeo convicted Sundram, he explained that he could not accept Sundram’s defense because Sundram’s testimony was “riddled with hindsight reasoning, convenient conjecture and hypothesis”. He explained in various stages how Sundram’s testimony was inconsistent with his first statement to the police.
“Despite the accused’s intoxicated state, he seemed able to recall with great clarity how Mr Sun had behaved aggressively towards him,” Judge Yeo said.
In Sundram’s original statement to the police, Sundram said that he was so drunk, he could not remember what actually happened.
The judge also pointed out that Mr Sun was already 70 years old, and it would have been disadvantageous for the elderly man to start the fight with a man who was younger and much larger in size, especially since he had already received his fare from Sundram.
Sundram will face his sentencing on 26th June. If convicted, he faces up to 2 years in jail, a fine of up to $5000, or both.
In a statement on Friday, an NUS spokesman said Sundram has been suspended without pay, and the university “will now determine what further disciplinary action should be taken”.