SINGAPORE : Twenty—four—year—old Desmond Neo Han Wen walked out of court a free man on Monday, even after he was sentenced to seven months’ jail on two charges of voluntarily causing hurt and one of grievous hurt. That is because the District Judge backdated the sentence to the day of his arrest — 5 December 2011.
On December 3 last year, Neo was walking to a car with three friends — 23—year—old Lee Boon Leong, 28—year—old Poh Chong Heng and 23—year—old Marcus Lee Han Wei — shortly after 6am.
The group had just ended a night of merry—making at Club Nana and was heading for supper at Central Square.
At the same time, another group comprising the deceased 21—year—old Chen Zixuan, 24—year—old Matthew Li, 21—year—old Darren Matthias Chan and 21—year—old Andrea Lim Mei Chen blocked the path of the car Neo was in.
Lee sounded the horn and this led to taunting and a fight ensued.
Mid—way, Chen told Neo and Lee that he had dislocated his thumb.
The fight stopped and the two groups even shook hands.
But at about the same time, Neo’s friend, whose name is not mentioned and who is still at large, came to the scene and a second fight broke out.
Chen suffered a heavy punch to his face and collapsed to the ground.
While he managed to get home, Chen later died of his injuries.
In mitigation, defence lawyer Kertar Singh said Neo is a first offender and the incident was not premeditated but a spontaneous one where the two groups were not armed.
He added that Neo did not participate in the second fight after making peace.
He also pointed out that Neo was initially in the car when the first fight broke out, but his client left to render aid to his friend.
In sentencing, the District Judge said the defence made it clear that Neo was not involved in the second fight.
The judge said credit should be given to Neo for the ceasefire when Chen told him of his dislocated thumb.
Still, he said group violence must be deterred and sentenced Neo to a total of seven months’ jail.
Neo is the first of his group to be dealt with.
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