8 weeks' jail for CEO who assaulted cabby, dislocating victim's shoulder

Shaffiq Alkhatib
The Straits Times
June 30, 2022

The chief executive of a private investment holding company who assaulted a taxi driver and dislocated the man's shoulder was on Thursday (June 30) sentenced to eight weeks' jail for committing the offence.

Briton Paul John Murphy, 61, was also fined $1,000 for performing a negligent act that could endanger the personal safety of others.

Murphy, CEO of PWS Holdings, had opened a passenger door of the taxi he was travelling in, causing a near collision, and assaulted the driver, Mr Elgin Lee, who had asked him to shut the door.

On April 7, District Judge Ong Chin Rhu convicted Murphy of the offences following a trial.

The court heard that Murphy had gone to the Singapore Recreation Club in Connaught Drive near the Padang for a drinking session on March 2, 2018.

Mr Elgin Lee later picked him up at the club at around 10pm that day.

The cabby was driving towards Murphy's home when he stopped his vehicle at a red light at the exit of the Central Expressway towards Outram Road.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Lee Zu Zhao had said in his submissions that the taxi was stationary when an intoxicated Murphy opened the passenger door, mistakenly assuming that they had arrived at his destination.

This resulted in a passing vehicle having to swerve out of the way.

The taxi driver then used vulgar language to repeatedly tell the Singapore permanent resident to close the door, the court heard.

The prosecutor had said: "Shortly after that, the victim felt the accused hitting his left upper arm twice. Following that, while making a right turn into Outram Road, the victim was checking his left wing mirror when he noticed a shadow coming towards him and raised his left arm to block it.

"It turned out that the accused was trying to hit him, and after it impacted the victim's left lower arm, the victim suffered a left shoulder dislocation."

Feeling pain, the court heard that Mr Lee stopped the taxi, alighted and told Murphy to get out of the vehicle.

The prosecutor told the judge that Murphy alighted and the cabby drove away, only to stop in nearby Eng Hoon Street due to the pain.

Two friends later took him to Mount Alvernia Hospital, where he was diagnosed with a dislocated left shoulder. He was granted hospitalisation leave from March 3 to 20 that year.

Murphy is represented by lawyers Pratap Kishan and Nirmal Singh.

During the trial, Murphy had said that after closing the door, he had apologised to Mr Lee, who "continued to shout vulgarities at him".

The prosecutor said: "(According to the defence), the victim also half-turned towards him, raised both hands, which were balled into fists, and came towards him with his arms swinging.

"The accused then felt threatened, stretched out his right arm to restrain the victim, and his palm connected with the victim's left upper arm."

According to the defence, Mr Lee went backwards into his seat and told Murphy to get out of the taxi. The Briton then complied, the court heard.

A doctor, however, told the court during the trial that the scenario described by the cabby would be the most likely means by which the dislocation could occur.

On Thursday, Mr Pratap said that Murphy had given more than $1,800 in compensation to the victim over items including his medical expenses.

The lawyer added that his client was not a violent man and the incident had taken place at the spur of the moment.

The court also heard that Murphy intends to appeal against his conviction and sentence.

For voluntarily causing hurt, an offender can be jailed for up to two years and fined up to $5,000.

The Straits Times

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