K. Lakshmi v Sanjeeva d/o Manickam

CourtMagistrates' Court (Singapore)
JudgeAdam Nakhoda
Judgment Date09 May 2001
Neutral Citation[2001] SGMC 24
Citation[2001] SGMC 24
Publication Date19 September 2003

JUDGMENT:

Grounds of Decision

THE CHARGE

1. The accused, Sanjeeva s/o Manickam claimed trial to the following amended charge, marked P1A;

You,

SANJEEVA S/O MANICKAM

Nric. No. S1651646 E

are charged that you at about the 3.00 p.m. on 16 January 2000 at the carpark of Block 134 Yishun Street 11 Singapore, in vehicle No, SBT 6593L, voluntarily caused hurt to on K. Lakshmi, to wit, by slapping and hitting her on her face, neck and shoulder and pulling her hair and pulling her thali chain causing injuries to her, an you have thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 323 of the Penal Code, Chapter 224.

2. After a three-day trial I found the accused guilty of the above charge and I accordingly sentenced him to pay a fine of $800 in default of which he would serve 8 days imprisonment. The accused has paid the fine.

THE FACTS

3. This is an appeal by the complainant against the sentence I imposed on the respondent. There is no Agreed Statement of Facts as I only passed sentence having concluded a trial and convicting the respondent of the charge. Therefore, I will briefly summarise the relevant facts that came out during the trial. The facts are drawn from all the witnesses versions and this version represent my findings as to what occurred on that day.

4. The Ms. K. Lakshmi (hereinafter "the complainant") and Mr. Sanjeeva s/o Manickam (hereinafter "the respondent") were married to one another at the time of the incident and at the trial. They had been married since the 25th of October 1998 and throughout the course of their marriage up to that point they had been staying at the respondents fathers house at Blk. 643, #10-284, Yishun Street 61. At the time of the trial complainant said that she was staying with her father, at Blk. 134, Yishun Street 11 #09-167, and not with the respondent. The complainant says that initially their marriage was smooth but she says two or three months later the respondents mother and sister began to cause trouble with the complainant.

5. The complainant at the time of the incident was about six-months pregnant and she says that she had diabetes brought on by the pregnancy. The complainant said that because she was unable to get good food at the respondents home she often returned to her fathers house in order to eat. About one week before the offence the complainant began going to her fathers house for dinner daily.

6. On the 16th of January 2000, a Sunday, the complainants mother Mdm. Kunchithapatham Thanapackiyam (hereinafter "Mdm. Kunchi") asked the complainants cousin Mr. Murugaiyan Kanaga Rajan (hereinafter "Kanaga") to call the complainant at her flat and ask her to come for lunch. Kanaga made the call to the respondents flat and the respondents parents maid answered the call. The complainant then spoke to the person on the phone and shortly thereafter she left for her fathers flat. After the complainant had left the respondent later heard his parents talking about the identity of the caller who had called the respondent. According to his parents the caller had been a male whereas the complainant had informed the respondent that the caller was Mdm. Kunchi. The respondent obviously being suspicious called the complainant at Mdm. Kunchis house at about 2.00 p.m. and told the complainant that he was coming to see her immediately. The complainant having only just started eating then asked the respondent to come down in twenty minutes time so that she could finish her food and the respondent agreed.

7. Kanaga is an Indian foreign worker working on a Workers Permit in Singapore. It was his habit to come down to Mdm. Kunchis house once a month on Sundays, during his off day, for lunch. Mdm. Kunchi is his aunt and the complainant is his cousin. On the 16th of January 2000 Kanaga had visited his aunt and at around 1.30 p.m. and Mdm. Kunchi asked Kanaga to call the complainant at her house and ask the complainant to come down for lunch. When the respondents parents maid answered the phone Kanaga said that he was the complainants "brother" and that he would like to speak to the complainant.

8. Having finished her food the complainant then made her way down to the void deck of the block of flats to await her husband. Kanaga says that he remained in Mdm. Kunchis flat for another ten minutes before he took his leave. When he got to the void deck of the block of flats he saw that the complainant was still waiting and so he went up to speak to her. In evidence Kanaga said that he knew the respondent well, however, the respondent says that he did not recognise Kanaga at all. It came out in evidence that Kanaga had only met the respondent on possibly two or three occasions since the respondents and the complainants marriage. These meetings were also fleeting in that there was no long conversation merely an exchange of pleasantries. I find that the respondent and Kanaga were not "very close" as Kanaga indicates and that it is conceivable that the complainant had no idea or only a vague recollection of who Kanaga was.

9. Upon seeing her husband drive into the carpark below Blk. 134 the complainant began to walk towards her husbands car and she then got into the car. Kanaga does not follow the complainant he merely stands where he was standing previously. Once in the car the respondent asks the complainant who the man she was standing with was. The complainant responds that it is her "brother". However, the respondent knowing what the complainants three brothers look like, is aware that Kanaga cannot be one of her brothers. As I have stated earlier the complainant was, in my opinion, suspicious and possibly experiencing a jealous reaction. In response to the complainants explanation the respondent tells her that "everyone is like a brother to you". I am also of the opinion that the respondent then said words to the effect that the complainant could have married this "brother" instead of marrying him. In response the complainant then must have shot back at the respondent words to the effect that she could not marry him because he is a relative and is like her brother, and the complainant also asked, and in my opinion with some venom, whether the respondent would marry his sister. I am also of the opinion that the complainant may the have said words to the effect that the complainant was an unsuitable husband. At this point the respondent got aggressive.

10. I find that at this point the respondent begins to slap his wife. I find that the attack is not as vicious as the complainant makes it out to be. I agree with the submission by the Counsel for the respondent that the mechanics of at least the first slap as described by the complainant are implausible. The complainant says that the respondent whilst holding on to the steering wheel with his left hand slaps her on her right cheek with his right hand. After the respondent feels that the complainant has, in effect, insulted their marriage by saying that he is an unsuitable husband, then he tries to snatch the thali chain from the complainant. The thali chain is a holy symbol of marriage according to Hindu customs and should not be removed. I believe in the course of the attempt to snatch the thali from the complainant and because of the...

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