Singapore: High Court reduces sentence for man, whose punch causes death of American

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Judgement for the man, who killed American three years ago on Christmas Eve (Representational picture) Pixabay

A 26-year-old man, who punched a Universal Studios Singapore stuntman that caused the death of the victim three years ago, has had his sentence reduced by the High Court on Friday, May 11.

Reports said that the accused, Muhammad Khalis Ramlee, was sentenced to an aggregate of 10 years' of imprisonment, including 24 strokes of cane for his involvement in a "night of mindless group violence", which caused the death of an American origin, John Denley Nelson, who tried to be a peacemaker during the brawl. On Friday, May 11 court has reduced the sentence to seven and a half years' of jail and 20 strokes of cane for Khalis.

The accused of had been convicted in the State Court for two counts of fighting and one count of consumption of drugs. Khalis was also found guilty of one charge of voluntarily causing grievous hurt and for that, he has received the prison sentence and canning.

Court documents stated that on the Christmas Eve of 2015, the accused and some of his friends were gathered in a bar, located at Circular Road for drinks. As per the reports, some of the members of that group had secret society affiliations.

On the same day, at around 2.40 am, one couple from that group started arguing outside the bar and other friends tried to break up the fight, which turned into a violent and aggressive event. When others in that area were watching the fight, Kalis and some of his friends started to attack those onlookers that triggered two separate brawls.

Meanwhile, Nelson, who was not involved in any fights, tried to intervene as a peacemaker between the attackers and one victim. Then, Khalis came from behind and forcefully punched the American, who fell to the ground. Nelson's head and shoulders both hit the kerb. Later, an eyewitness said that they heard a loud crack sound when Nelson collapsed.

Reports said he was taken to a hospital immediately and doctors performed an emergency brain surgery. But Nelson could not recover from the life-threatening injury and on January 1, 2016, he passed away.

When the court found Khalis guilty of grievous hurt, he was sentenced to 10 years' of jail term including 24 strokes of cane but that has now reduced to seven and a half years' of imprisonment and 20 strokes of the cane.

During the recent hearing, Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon stated that the district judge has considered Khali's attack was an unprovoked and sudden act that provided a little chance to defend the victim.

In the written judgement Menon said that the district judge had been unduly influenced by Khalid's involvement in the fight on the 2015 Christmas Eve, prior to the attack on Nelson.

In addition, he wrote, the judge did not consider that Khalis could not ignore the fact that the grievous hurt offence had occurred in the same night of the mindless group violence. Menon further added Khalis' attack on the deceased could not be said to be a part of the two fights and thus a part of the mindless group violence that happened pervaded that night.

Menon also wrote that the highest case that could be mounted against Khalis' activity was that he had intended to forcefully punch Nelson, though he knew that his action could cause a fracture or other injuries. So, as per Menon, it appeared to be a factor that calls for the sentence to be moderated.