4 years’ jail for man who punched another, causing him to fall, suffer head injuries and die
A man who punched another in an altercation, causing the latter to fall and leading to his death in hospital five days later, was jailed four years for the offence on Nov 27.
Sakthivel Sivasurian, 33, was convicted in October of one charge of voluntarily causing hurt which causes grievous hurt.
District Judge James Elisha Lee said there was no premeditation in this case, and Sakthivel had attempted to assist the victim, Mr Manjunatha Louis Ravi, after he fell to the ground.
But the judge noted that Sakthivel had claimed trial and made serious allegations against the investigation officer during the trial, which demonstrated a lack of remorse.
DJ Lee also sentenced Sakthivel to another two weeks’ jail for a separate charge of giving false information to a public servant while out on bail, to which Sakthivel had previously pleaded guilty.
Another charge of affray and an offence under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020 were taken into consideration for sentencing.
According to court documents, Mr Manjunatha, Sakthivel, Sakthivel’s wife and his godsister were in a taxi on the way to a Housing Board block in Gangsa Road at around 11pm on July 18, 2020.
The relationship between the two men was not mentioned in court documents.
A dispute arose between Sakthivel and Mr Manjunatha that eventually led to an altercation between them after they had alighted.
Deputy Public Prosecutor R. Arvindren said in his closing submissions that Sakthivel subsequently punched Mr Manjunatha from behind.
Mr Manjunatha fell and hit his head on the ground.
An eyewitness called 995, and Mr Manjunatha was taken to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital.
A scan revealed bleeding on the surface of his brain, along with brain swelling and a suggestion of brain damage. His prognosis by neurosurgeons was poor.
The victim was subsequently disconnected from the mechanical ventilator, and died on July 23, 2020.
An autopsy showed that Mr Manjunatha’s cause of death was head and neck injuries.
The defence’s position at the 16-day trial was that the initial injury Mr Manjunatha had from the fall was not fatal. Instead, it was when Sakthivel tried to pick him up and dropped him that the initial injury was aggravated and resulted in his death.
DJ Lee said he accepted the evidence from Sakthivel’s lawyer, Mr Sanjiv Vaswani, that Mr Manjunatha had been dropped twice after Sakthivel and his godsister tried to lift him from the ground.
The judge also said he accepted the evidence that Sakthivel had moved Mr Manjunatha to a grass patch before an ambulance arrived.
The judge added that there was reasonable doubt whether Mr Manjunatha would have died from the initial injury from the fall had he not been “dropped and manhandled”.
But the judge added: “While the dropping and manhandling of the victim after the fall may have aggravated his initial injury, the situation had arisen purely as a result of the fall. If not for the fall, and the victim’s inability to get up on his own thereafter, (the two of them) would not have attempted to lift or move him.
“In fact, if not for the (injury) sustained by the victim from the fall, the dropping and manhandling of the victim per se would not have resulted in his death.”
According to court documents detailing his other offence, Sakthivel had violated his court-imposed bail curfew hours of between midnight and 6am on Feb 9, 2023, at the Magic World nightclub.
He had told a police officer that he was home at 11.07pm on Feb 8, 2023, when he was not.
The police later received a tip-off from a member of the public and trawled police camera footage, revealing Sakthivel’s violation of the curfew.