SINGAPORE: A man caught on video punching a security guard in the face was sentenced to one week’s jail on Monday (Sep 23).
After the clip went viral online, British national and Singapore permanent resident Stuart Boyd Mills began receiving hate mail and abuse, his lawyer said.
The 47-year-old has since been diagnosed with major depressive disorder, said lawyer Ramesh Tiwary.
Mills pleaded guilty on Monday to one charge of voluntarily causing hurt, with a second charge of using abusive words taken into consideration for sentencing.
The court heard that he had been drinking at Roxy Square on the night of Apr 3 this year, and after having a third of a bottle of liquor, was trying to find an exit out of the mall.
Past midnight, Mills was taken to the victim Andrew Lim, the security supervisor that was on duty at the time.
Mr Lim, who works for Regal Security, then explained to Mills where the exits of the mall at 50 East Coast Road were located.
As they talked, Mr Lim noticed that Mills was getting increasingly indignant and aggressive. The security supervisor asked another officer to record the incident on his phone. Mills proceeded to do the same on his own phone.
In a video clip played to the court, Mills is shown trailing Mr Lim, trying to trip him with his leg, and suddenly landing a blow on Mr Lim’s face, knocking him to the ground.
Mills then left the scene, while Mr Lim called the police, who noticed swelling on his eyebrow.
After the incident, Mills looked at the video he had taken on his phone and confided in his wife about what had happened. He decided to go back to Roxy Square to apologise for his actions and was later detained.
The victim later went to hospital, where he was found to have suffered swelling and tenderness in the eye area.
UNPROVOKED AND THUGGISH ATTACK: PROSECUTOR
Deputy Public Prosecutor Vincent Ong asked for two weeks’ jail to be imposed, saying Mills had committed an “unprovoked and thuggish attack” on a security officer merely doing his duty.
He said Mills was drunk and had first tried to trip Mr Lim, who later fell to the ground with a “single forceful blow to the head”.
Mills’ lawyer told the court that his client was “utterly remorseful for what he has done”.
“The surest sign of his remorse is the fact that he had returned to the scene when he realised what he had done and he had returned to the scene to apologise to the victim, even though he knew that by returning, it would lead to his own identification,” said Mr Tiwary.
Mills has also paid S$2,000 in compensation to the victim and indicated from the start that he wanted to plead guilty.
“He realises the embarrassment he has caused the victim and he’s trying to make compensation by paying the victim something,” said the lawyer. “He has repeatedly said to me that he regrets his actions. They were uncalled for, and he understands that.”
This is Mills’ first brush with the law in Singapore and overseas, said the lawyer.
“He realised when he saw the video how bizarre and unexplainable his behaviour was,” he added. “He has been seeking medical help, he has been diagnosed with major depressive disorder. I’m not saying there’s any causal link, but he’s taking steps to reform his behaviour.”
ACCUSED RECEIVED ABUSE, HATE MAIL: DEFENCE
Mr Tiwary said that Mills “has himself become the subject of abuse and hatred through messages received on his phone and even through letters sent to his address”.
“This is because somebody has released his personal information online and people have this information,” said the lawyer.
The prosecution said that while Mills did save the police some time in apprehending him, “it’s not as if there was no other way he could be identified”.
There were clips of the incident and members of the public had “somehow” managed to identify Mills, he said.
District Judge Christopher Tan said he noted that the victim had tried to walk away from an entirely unprovoked attack, but Mills had gone after him, trying to trip him before attacking a sensitive part of his body.
He accepted the prosecution’s argument that security officers are in a very vulnerable position, being exposed to risks.
“And unlike the police, they do not have the necessary legal powers to protect themselves from that risk and this is a factor that can be taken to support the conclusion that they are deserving of a certain degree of protection,” said the judge.
For hurting Mr Lim, Mills could have been jailed for up to two years and fined a maximum of S$5,000.