Educator gets jail for punching man, causing facial fractures
After being chided for allegedly making racist remarks, the educator landed a single punch that left his victim with multiple facial fractures.
Yesterday, American William Samuel Pettijohn, 31, who works for Chatsworth International School, was jailed for 20 months for voluntarily causing grievous hurt.
He was convicted after a three-day trial.
The court was told that on Sept 24, 2017, Pettijohn was at the Swiss Club in Bukit Timah for an Oktoberfest event. He was there with Mr David Michael Rive, 35, a British colleague, and they left together at about 1am.
The victim, Mr Arora Neil Kant, 49, a permanent resident, was there with his friends, and his group left the club at around the same time.
The prosecution told the court that both groups were at the taxi stand when Mr Arora heard Pettijohn making racist remarks, and he then chided the American. A dispute ensued. Mr Arora later grabbed Pettijohn's sleeves and was almost instantly punched on the left side of his head and lost consciousness.
Pettijohn's lawyers argued their client had acted in self-defence and said it was Mr Rive who had made the racist comments.
The prosecution argued that even if it was in self- defence, Pettijohn had exceeded that right by inflicting more harm than necessary.
The American is 1.82m tall, weighs 110kg and was described as having a large build.
Mr Arora had to undergo surgery to reconstruct his eye socket with titanium plates and has lost sensation on several facial areas. He also has double vision and occasional flashbacks.
During sentencing, District Judge Mathew Joseph said the injuries showed the intensity of Pettijohn's punch.
He added the case was a stark reminder and warning that racist remarks and intoxicated people are a volatile and dangerous mix that will inevitably result in dire consequences.
The judge also ordered Pettijohn to compensate the victim $1,000.Pettijohn intends to appeal against the conviction and sentence. He was offered bail of $20,000.
He has since been suspended from his job. For voluntarily causing grievous hurt, he could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined or caned.