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The Straits Times
Jan 17, 2023
A man sided with his female cousin’s estranged husband and took part in what the prosecution described as a heinous and brazen public attack against the woman’s male friend.
The 37-year-old woman’s friend was assaulted, stripped and had videos taken of his private parts. One of the clips was then circulated to more than 500 of his friends and acquaintances.
The man, also 37, whose injuries included fractures to his face and right collarbone, was later given 21 days of hospitalisation leave.
On Monday, the woman’s cousin, 24, was sentenced to 2½ years’ jail, four strokes of the cane and a fine of $5,500.
He had pleaded guilty to various offences, including voluntarily causing grievous hurt, behaving in a disorderly manner and taking part in a poker game with nine other people at his workplace amid Covid-19 curbs.
According to court documents, the woman’s cousin, his father and her then husband were part of a group that ganged up against her and her friend.
All parties involved in this case cannot be named because of a gag order to protect the victims’ identities.
The cousin’s girlfriend was also present during the attack, and she had used her mobile phone to film the incident.
The girlfriend, then 24, was sentenced to a year’s probation on Jan 7, 2022.
Six days later, the female victim’s then husband, 41, was sentenced to three years’ jail, four strokes of the cane and a $1,500 fine.
The case involving the cousin’s 53-year-old father is pending.
At the time of the offences, the woman and her estranged husband were going through divorce proceedings.
At about 10pm on Feb 7, 2020, the attackers gathered near the woman’s home as they suspected that she was having an extramarital affair.
They later spotted her entering her friend’s car and decided to follow them in their own vehicles.
Court documents did not state if the woman was having an affair with her male friend at the time.
The friend was heading towards the Woodlands Checkpoint when the husband manoeuvred his car directly behind the man’s vehicle.
The woman’s cousin stopped his own car in front of the male victim’s vehicle, trapping it.
The cousin and the husband then alighted to confront the man. The cousin also told his girlfriend to record the incident.
The husband ordered the man to step out of his car, and the latter complied. After that, the female victim, her friend and the attackers went to a grass patch beside the road.
The husband then punched the friend multiple times, and the cousin pinned the male victim to the ground.
The pair then rained blows on the man while shouting vulgarities at him.
The cousin also used his fingers to poke the man’s eyes and choked him until he could not breathe.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Jeremy Bin said that the cousin’s father arrived at the scene soon after and joined in the attack.
The husband spat at the female victim when she tried to intervene, and abused her with vulgar language.
DPP Bin said that the female victim’s uncle also assaulted her and dragged her by her neck.
The attackers then decided to humiliate the male victim. The cousin restrained him while the other two attackers pulled down the man’s trousers and underwear.
The father and the husband then recorded videos and snapped pictures of the man’s private parts.
The husband also used the male victim’s phone to record a video before sending it to more than 500 of the man’s contacts over messaging platform WhatsApp.
An eyewitness called the police, and officers who arrived at the scene told the attackers to stop behaving in a rowdy fashion.
Instead of complying, the trio shouted insults at the female victim.
They stopped shouting only when the officers arrested them.
Court documents did not state what happened next, but the male victim was given 21 days of hospitalisation leave following the attack that lasted for about 30 minutes.
DPP Bin told the court: “In total, (he) incurred $1,365.87 (in) medical bills arising from this incident. Due to the extended hospitalisation leave taken following this incident, his company... did not renew his contract and he became unemployed.
“To date, (the cousin) has not offered compensation or restitution to the victim.”
Separately, the cousin also committed an offence under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act.
He was working as a barber when he hosted a poker game at his workplace on April 1, 2021, and invited nine friends to gamble with him.
At the time of the offence, pandemic restrictions meant that individuals could not gather in a group of more than eight people outside their homes.
An eyewitness alerted the police, and officers arrived at the barbershop soon after.
The cousin’s bail was set at $15,000 on Monday, and he is expected to surrender himself at the State Courts on Feb 20 to begin serving his jail sentence.