Armed robber who fled from court gets 11½ years' jail
The armed robber who fled from the courtroom during a break earlier this month has been jailed for 11½ years.
Visvanathan Vadivelu, 50, had pleaded guilty last month to one count of robbery and three drug charges.
Another five similar charges were taken into consideration.
Visvanathan robbed a Shell petrol station in Upper Bukit Timah Road in July 2017 using a knife and fled with about $1,100. He also consumed drugs from June 2017.
He was expected to be sentenced last Tuesday but told the court he wanted to retract his plea. He claimed he misunderstood what his lawyer had told him.
The judge called for a short break so the lawyer, who had been discharged, could be called to the courtroom.
But when the lawyer showed up about 15 minutes later, Visvanathan had fled.
The police previously issued a release explaining the courts have the discretion to offer bail for armed robbery and that Visvanathan was able to leave the courtroom unescorted as he was still on court bail.
He was on bail of $70,000 when he absconded.
A warrant of arrest was issued and Visvanathan was arrested the next day when his mother called the police on him.
He was hauled back into the courtroom last Thursday. He was then not offered bail.
Yesterday, he told the court he absconded previously because he heard voices telling him to go home.
He also asked for sentencing to be postponed and to be released on bail to settle family and personal matters.
But District Judge Kan Shuk Weng denied his request and jailed him.
Those convicted of armed robbery can be jailed for up to 10 years and given at least 12 strokes of the cane. Those over 50 years old cannot be caned.