Bus driver scolded P6 boy, dislocated his shoulder after wrongly assuming he spilled drink

Samuel Devaraj
The Straits Times
Jan 9, 2024

After a drink spilled on a school bus, the driver manhandled a Primary 6 pupil he thought was behind it.

The 12-year-old boy, who cannot be named due to a gag order, suffered a dislocated shoulder as a result.

The bus driver, Poh Choon Huat, 64, was jailed for seven weeks on Jan 9.

He pleaded guilty to one charge of voluntarily causing hurt which caused grievous hurt, and was also ordered to pay a compensation of $138 for the victim’s medical bills.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Kathy Chu said the boy took the school bus home after school at about 2pm on July 31, 2023, and was sitting in the last row with his friend.

While the bus was moving, the boy helped his friend to open a can of green tea. When the bus came to a sudden stop, the boy’s friend dropped the can, spilling its contents.

The boy shouted, “Aunty, water spill”, to alert the bus attendant and also picked up the can and went up to her, telling her it had spilled.

The bus attendant later went to the back of the bus and scolded the victim and his friend.

Despite the boy’s attempt to say he was not the one who had spilt the drink, the bus attendant said she would report the matter to a teacher.

Poh then stopped the bus, and approached the victim and scolded him.

After the boy tried to explain to him what had happened, Poh said he would tell the boy’s teacher about this and asked the boy to leave the bus immediately.

Said DPP Chu: “(Poh) grabbed the victim’s left wrist and left shoulder and pulled while the victim was seated, intending to cause hurt to the victim. (Poh) wanted to pull him out from where he was seated.”

The boy grabbed onto the chair and seat belt, and shouted that he would not leave the bus.

Poh almost succeeded in pulling the victim by his left shoulder away from the chair.

The boy then shouted at Poh that he should not touch him, and the accused replied, “What touch you?”, and shoved the victim on the left shoulder several times with his palm.

The boy pushed Poh’s hands away and told him not to touch him. The man then swiped his hand over the boy’s left cheek.

The bus attendant spoke to Poh, who then returned to the driver’s seat and continued driving the bus.

The boy called his grandmother, who said she would meet him at the void deck of his home.

Upon seeing his grandmother, the boy cried and told her what had happened.

The grandmother then confronted Poh about touching the boy. Poh brushed it off by laughing and denied that it had happened.

On Aug 2, 2023, the boy, who was feeling pain on his left shoulder, visited Changi General Hospital and was diagnosed with a dislocation of the acromioclavicular joint of the left shoulder, and tenderness over the area.

He was given hospitalisation leave from Aug 2 to 15 and had to wear a sling.

When questioned by the police, Poh said he was angry with the boy, as he was not using the seat belt, had thrown items all over the bus and had dirtied his bus.

He admitted that he had grabbed the victim’s left shoulder and wanted to pull him out of his seat.

In sentencing, District Judge Kenneth Chin said that Poh was a bus driver entrusted with the safety of his young charges, and that his response was inappropriate and disproportionate.

Poh could have been jailed for up to five years, fined up to $10,000, or both.

The Straits Times

Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.