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Judicial CP - November 2012

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The Straits Times, Singapore, 30 November 2012, p.B3

Man who snatched rifle from soldier was on drugs

By Elena Chong
Court correspondent

AN ELECTRICIAN, fearful that he might be assaulted, ran to get help from soldiers who were training nearby and grabbed a rifle from one of them.

Yesterday, District Judge Lim Keng Yeow sentenced Mohammed Ridzuan Jamari (right), 31, to one year's jail for theft of the rifle. He was also given five years and three months and three strokes for drug consumption.

Ridzuan had admitted to snatching the SAR 21 rifle from specialist cadet trainee Kang Tai, 22, at Pasir Laba Camp and taking methamphetamine or Ice, on May 8 this year.

On Nov 16, Deputy Public Prosecutor Yang Ziliang told a community court that Mr Kang was undergoing training with about 100 others at the camp on May 8 when he ran towards the finish line. Ridzuan ran beside him, grabbed his shoulder and shouted at him.

Click to enlarge

Ridzuan, who had gone to the camp with two others to service and test transformers at a construction site, then grabbed the rifle from Mr Kang, who put up a struggle.

Ridzuan's lawyer, Mr K. Mathialahan, said in mitigation that his client, who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, was terrified and panicked when he heard someone saying "potong dia", which means "cut him" in Malay.

He then grabbed a screwdriver before running towards the soldiers and pleading with one of them to help him, but he was ignored.

At that time, he still heard voices from behind and thought he was being chased. That was when he grabbed the rifle from Mr Kang, who was in front of the person he had sought help from.

The platoon commander managed to take away the rifle from Ridzuan. Police arrived and arrested him.

A psychiatrist from the Institute of Mental Health felt that it was Ridzuan's schizophrenia that caused him to react in that way that day.

Ridzuan has previous convictions for theft, causing hurt with dangerous weapon, rioting and drug-related offences. He was last given seven years' corrective training in 2002.

Judge Lim said the courts take a very serious view of any offence involving firearms. No attempt to obtain unauthorised possession of firearms will ever be taken lightly.

"An offender who takes hold of firearms by force, especially, must expect to face the full force of the law and expect to receive severe penalties, including caning," he said.

But he noted that Ridzuan's mental health issues had affected his entire state of mind and his choices and actions at the time.

Both sentences are to run concurrently.

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