Hao Jing v Zhu Hong Li

CourtMagistrates' Court (Singapore)
JudgeAdam Nakhoda
Judgment Date27 February 2001
Neutral Citation[2001] SGMC 9
Citation[2001] SGMC 9
Publication Date19 September 2003

JUDGMENT:

Grounds of Decision

1. The Respondent Ms. Hao Jing claimed trial to the following charge, marked P1;

"You,

HAO JING, FEMALE (PASSPORT NO. 148263701)

"are charged that you, on the 9th of July at 1020 hours, at 58, Jalan Hitam Manis, did voluntarily cause hurt to one ZHU HONG LI (Passport No. 147448119), to wit, by scratching the face, neck and hands of the said ZHU HONG LI with our hands, and you have thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 323 of the Penal Code, Chapter 224.

2. After a two-day trial, I found that the Complainant had proven the charge against the Respondent beyond reasonable doubt and I accordingly convicted the Respondent of the charge. I subsequently sentenced her to pay a $1,000 fine in default of which she would serve 2 weeks imprisonment.

THE COMPLAINANTS CASE

3. The Complainants evidence is taken from the doctor who examined her Dr. Wong Jan Sen (PW1) (hereinafter, "Dr. Wong"), her own evidence, the evidence of Ms. Wang Yu (PW3) (hereinafter, "Ms. Wang") and to a lesser extent the evidence of Ms. Zhang Guo Jing (PW4) (hereinafter, "Ms. Zhang").

A. Evidence of Dr. Wong Jan Sen (PW1)

4. Dr. Wong was called primarily to admit the medical report detailing the Complainants injuries marked P2. Dr. Wong agreed that the injuries observed in P2 were consistent with the Complainants story that someone who was not using a weapon had assaulted the Complainant. Dr. Wong also agreed that the Complainant had informed her that she had defended herself but that she did not elaborate on the means that she had employed to defend herself.

B. Evidence of the Complainant (PW2)

5. The Complainant informed the Court that she is a Chinese national and that she was in Singapore, at the material time, pursuing a Masters in Business Administration with the National University of Singapore (hereinafter "NUS"). She had been assigned by NUS, to accommodation at no. 58 Jalan Hitam Manis (hereinafter "the hostel"). She said that she shared a room in the hostel with another lady Ms. Hu Quanbo.

6. It is the Complainants evidence that sometime in February 2000, after she had moved to the hostel, the Respondent had asked to borrow the keys to the Complainants room in May 2000. The Complainant said that the Respondent knew that she was returning to China in May. The Respondent had informed the Complainant that her boyfriend would be coming from China and she wanted to use the Complainants room to allow her roommate, Ms. Zhang, to stay in during her boyfriends visit.

7. The Complainant said that she was very reluctant or unwilling to lend the Respondent the keys and despite the Respondent asking numerous times she did not give any definite answer until the 24th of April. The Complainant was unable to recall the number of times the Respondent asked to borrow her keys. The Complainant said that her unwillingness was compounded by the fact that she was unhappy with the Complainant for frequently bringing a male friend to the hostel. However, the Complainant never mentioned her unhappiness until the incident on the 9th of July.

8. On the 24th of April 2000 the Complainant had invited a couple of her friends over to the hostel to play cards. As she did not want to disturb the Respondent she went to ask the Respondents permission. At this time the Respondent again asked the Complainant to lend her the room keys. The Complainant said that because the Respondent had asked her the question directly and because at this point she still got on quite well with the Respondent she found it very difficult to refuse her, so she agreed to lend the keys. On the 26th of April 2000 before she left for China, the Complainant left her keys on the Respondents desk.

9. On the 20th of July 2000, when the Complainant returned from China, she says the Respondents roommate, Ms. Zhang, told her that the Respondent and her boyfriend had stayed in the Complainants room. The Complainant says that she was very unhappy about the fact that the Respondent had not kept her promise to only let Ms. Zhang use the Complainants room. The Complainant says that she did not have an opportunity to confront the Respondent about this until the 9th of July 2000.

10. Sometime after the Complainant had returned from China and before the 9th of July there was another confrontation between her and the Respondent. Sometime between 12.15 and 12.30 a.m. the Respondent turned on her bedroom lights and opened the door to the balcony she shared with the Respondent. The Respondent then angrily complained to her that this had disturbed her sleep. The Complainant said she remained on the balcony for about 5 minutes before returning to her room and turning off the light. The Complainant said that she thought the Respondents behaviour over this incident was unreasonable.

11. On Sunday the 9th of July 2000, the Complainant said she had plans to meet friends of hers and to go to a bookstore in Clementi at 11.30 a.m. At 10.30 a.m. she had gone to the common bathroom on the mezzanine level at the hostel to take a shower. However, she found that the Respondent was washing her clothes at the time. The Complainant, in cross-examination, says she asked the Respondent to do her laundry at the bathroom at ground level of the hostel, but the Respondent refused and told her to wait.

12. The Complainant says she then waited for about 5 minutes, in which time she brushed her teeth and washed her face and then she asked the Respondent the following, (at page 10B of the Notes of Evidence);

"Q. Did you approach Hao Jing about this?

A. On the morning of the 9th of July this year when we met at the bathroom, I asked the Respondent whether she had brought a male friend and stayed in my room. She stood up and shouted at me in a loud voice. She started to charge at me. She said "He is my boyfriend" it means he is not my male friend."

(Emphasis mine)

13. Apparently in the past, the Complainant had spoken to the Respondent about a male friend who would visit the Respondent at the hostel bringing along a dog. According to the Complainant after the Respondent said that it was her boyfriend not her "male friend" the Complainant exacerbated the situation by asking the following, (at page 10C of the Notes of Evidence);

"Q. What was your response?

A. Besides having a boyfriend, she has another male friend in Singapore. This male friend always comes to our hostel. This male friend always come with his dog. She shouted and said the "male friend is my boyfriend". I asked could it be the person who brought along the dog who come to my room."

(Emphasis mine)

14. In examination-in-chief the Complainant says that the Respondent then did the following, (at page 10C of the Notes of Evidence);

"Q. What was your response?

A. She then gave me a slap. She then used her hands to scratch my face. As her hands were on my face, I closed my eyes. After that I fell and sat on the floor. Her hands were still on my face. I felt she has punched me on my back and head. Later on someone came and pulled us apart.

Q. Did you try to defend yourself?

A. Yes. I wanted to push her away.

Q. Did you push her away?

A. No. I was unable to.

Q. Did you try to ward of her blows?

A. Yes. I tried to ward them off as I had already fallen onto the floor, my eyes were closed so I did not see what had happened.

15. In cross-examination the Complainant emphasised that as the Respondent was assaulting her she had raised her hands to cover her eyes and thus did not see much. She said that at one point she lost her balance and fell to the floor. The Complainant does recall that whilst she was on the floor she felt that the Respondent was still scratching her face as well as punching her on the crown of her head and her shoulders. The Complainant also said that whilst she was on the floor she also tried to push the Respondent away, she said felt she was pushing the Respondents legs. The Complainant says that Ms. Wang and Ms. Hu Quanbo subsequently separated her and the Respondent. She says that Ms. Wang informed her that her face was full of blood. The Complainant also says that on the 9th of July when she saw the Respondent she did not see the injuries on the Respondent as recorded in the Respondents medical report. After the incident the Complainant says that she left the hostel for her meeting with her friends. However, she found that the bookstore was closed so she went to a medical clinic next to the bookstore to seek medical attention for her injuries. At this clinic she saw Dr. Wong. On the same day she lodged a police report (P3).

16. The Complainant was asked why she thought the Respondent had acted in such a manner. Though she was unable to explain why the Respondent would act in such a manner she offered her opinion that the Respondent was being oversensitive about her comments and as such lashed out against her. In addition she felt that the Respondent may "not be in a good mood dealing with two male friends". The Complainant says that she did not quarrel with the Respondent in the bathroom only that she asked the Respondent about allowing her boyfriend to use the room.

17. The Complainant says that the Respondent then spoke to Ms. Wang and told Ms. Wang that she wanted to settle with the Complainant out of court and that she was willing to pay for the Complainants medical expenses. The Complainant said that she was unwilling to accept this offer. The Complainant also said that on the 11th of July Ms. Zhang informed the Complainant that the Respondent had told her that she slapped the Complainant because of the undesirable remarks that the Complainant had made concerning the Respondent.

C. Evidence of Ms. Wang Yu (PW3)

18. Ms. Wang has no direct knowledge of whether the Respondent and her boyfriend used the Complainants bed. She was informed about this by the Complainant. She also said that she had never met the Respondents male friend who brought a dog and that she was not unhappy about...

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