AMDK FORMER US NAVY CONVICTED OF PUNCHING SINGAPORE CABBY

A former US Navy Seal has been convicted of hitting a cab driver and throwing the cabby’s walkie-talkie into Marina Bay waters. He was sentenced to four weeks’ jail and fined $800 today.

Ian Damery Fitzgerald, a former US Navy Seal, punched cabby Mr Lim Chin Sheng, 42, on the face near Marina Boulevard at about 12.50am on May 31 last year. Fitzgerald, who is now a student, is appealing against his conviction and sentence, was allowed bail of $5,000.

The 1.9m tall Fitzgerald denied hitting the Mr Lim and throwing the walkie-talkie into the sea. He claimed that he threw Mr Lim’s mobile phone onto a grass patch to calm things down.

The court heard that Mr Lim was driving along Marina Boulevard when Fitzgerald stood in the middle of the road to flag down the taxi. He was with his girlfriend, Ms Erin Alexander, who was working in Singapore.

After the couple got into the taxi, Mr Lim refused to take them to Balmoral Crescent as it was a traffic offence to pick up passengers along double zigzag lines.

Mr Lim then left the taxi. The couple also got out and Ms Alexander walked away without Fitzgerald.

When the cabby saw Fitzgerald take his bag from the driver seat, he asked for it to be returned.

Fitzgerald slammed the door of the taxi on Mr Lim’s leg, and pushed him to the ground.

Mr Lim called the police and told Fitzgerald to stay put but Fitzgerald continued to walk away, with Mr Lim pursuing him. Mr Lim pulled the American’s shirt to prevent him from leaving.

At the Promenade area, Fitzgerald turned around and punched Mr Lim on the face. When the cabby fell, his mobile phone and walkie-talkie also dropped. Fitzgerald picked up the walkie-talkie and threw it into Marina Bay.

Mr Lim continued to follow Fitzgerald and he was subsequently pushed into the OUE Tower water fountain by Fitzgerald.

Mr Lim suffered bruises on the face and was given five days of medical leave.

In his oral judgment, District Judge Low Wee Ping found that Fitzgerald’s attacks on Mr Lim were sustained and repeated. He agreed with the prosecution that it was “an almost one-sided assault”, and that Fitzgerald was the aggressor.

The judge agreed with the defence that Fitzgerald’s actions were not pre-meditated. The accused, who was drunk, had acted on impulse each time.

The maximum punishment for causing hurt is two years’ jail and a $5,000 fine; and for mischief, one year’s jail and a fine.

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