Dick Lim Poh Guan, 25, pleaded guilty in court yesterday to punching an elderly 70 year-old Catholic priest in the nose and savagely beating him while he lay on the ground in a shocking road rage case. He was sentenced to 7 weeks jail.
The incident took place in the evening of 20th February last year along Cashin Street, near North Bridge Road.
According to court proceedings, Father Adrian Anthony was on his way to a McDonald’s near Bras Basah Complex for dinner after he finished his work at the Cathedral of Good Shepherd. He was driving along Victoria Street and was about to turn right into Middle Road when he stopped to allow pedestrians to finish crossing at the junction.
Lim, together with his wife, were in a van behind him and had to stop as well. Angered at being unable to proceed despite having the right of way, Lim sounded the horn at the elderly driver, who was initially startled but continued driving thinking that it was just a minor misunderstanding.
The victim then came to a stop at Cashin Street to park his car, but Lim and his wife tailed him to his lot.
Lim then alighted from his van, and knocked on Father Anthony’s windscreen. The priest was unaware that Lim was the one who had earlier sounded his horn at him.
As soon as Father Anthony wound down his window, Lim shouted at the priest for his driving and challenged him to a fight. To protect himself and his vehicle, the priest stepped out of his car to take a photo of the van that Lim drove, but Lim swiftly snatched his phone away.
Despite pleading with Lim to return him his phone, Lim refused. Lim’s wife, Ms Ao Lin, 20, then demanded that the priest explain why he had stopped at the traffic junction, and questioned if the priest had wanted her husband to “bang your car from behind”?
The priest realized that the earlier incident and Lim’s outburst were connected, and tried to snatch his phone back from Lim. Lim then punched the elderly man in the nose, which sent the elderly man to the ground. Lim then kicked the priest once.
By this time, Father Anthony reported “seeing stars” and was bleeding from his nose. He tried to get up but failed. Lim then smashed Father Anthony’s phone on the ground.
Thankfully, a concerned passerby called for an ambulance, which transferred Father Anthony to a nearby hospital. Doctors found that the elderly man had suffered from a nasal tip fracture and multiple contusions on his back, hip and thigh. He was given 7 days of medical leave.
Asking for a lighter sentence, Dick’s lawyer Mervyn Tan said his client had apologized to the Father for what he had done and paid $500 in compensation. However, District Judge Janet Wang said the courts’ rulings on road rage cases were firm and unchanging. “Violence is clearly anathema to all road users,” she said.
While the judge noted from his lawyer’s mitigation plea that Dick took care of his elderly parents, she said she did not see the same token of goodwill and charity extended to other elderly persons like the victim in this case.
“In fact, you and your wife were exceedingly rude to him. I must say that your actions as well as your wife’s were simply deplorable. You were simply bullying an old man on the road,” she said.
Lim, a father of two, could have been jailed for up to 2 years, fined, or both for causing hurt,