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Judicial CP - December 2000

Corpun file 6381

Straits Times, Singapore, 1 December 2000

Teenage thug's appeal backfires

Chief Justice slaps on maximum seven years, 12 strokes for brutal attack which left young victim paralysed

By Elena Chong

A 19-YEAR-OLD man's appeal against his sentence backfired yesterday when his jail term for rioting with a deadly weapon was doubled.

Suresh Jiwa had asked for reformative training or probation.

Chief Justice Yong Pung How decided he belonged behind bars.

'I think you are a very dangerous person,' he told Suresh yesterday, when he gave him the maximum sentence of seven years' jail and 12 strokes of the cane, three strokes more than the young thug's original sentence.

Suresh and two of his friends, armed with knives, were part of a group of 11 who attacked Mr Jason Easudas, 19, leaving him paralysed from the waist down.

Stabbed repeatedly in the back and neck, Mr Easudas was hospitalised for months. He was discharged over a month ago, but will have to use a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

CJ Yong told Suresh: 'You were sentenced to three years six months and nine strokes of the cane. To me, that is manifestly inadequate.'

The gang had ambushed Mr Easudas near Bishan MRT station on the evening of Feb 22. Two men punched and kicked him. Suresh and two others joined in, stabbing him in the back several times.

The attack severed Mr Easudas' spinal cord and left him with collapsed lungs, among other injuries.

The accomplices who were armed, Arumugam Muthusamy and Kantha Swamy, each got four years' jail and 12 strokes of the cane after pleading guilty to a similar charge. They did not appeal.

Yesterday, Suresh, who had no lawyer, begged for another chance, saying he was a first offender and regretted what he had done.

He said he hoped to continue his studies at the Reformative Training Centre if given a chance.

The CJ reminded Suresh that he had gathered 10 people to wait for one man, and that they all had attacked Mr Easudas together.

Suresh said he would definitely not commit a similar crime again and, if he did, the court could punish him 'much more'.

To this, the CJ said: 'Oh, I am not going to wait till the next time. The next CJ may be too kind. My job is to keep people like you in prison for a very long time.'

Mr Easudas, the eldest of three children of a technician, said in his victim impact statement in July that although the stab wounds on his back and neck had healed, they had left permanent scars.

'I am unable to feel passing motion and I cannot urinate naturally. Every four hours, a tube has to be inserted into the bladder through my penis to extract the urine. The five fingers of my left hand are not functioning.'

He is still in pain and cannot lead a normal life, he said.

He added: '... I am a burden to my family. I used to be active and I always looked forward to a better life and being able to support my family.'

Copyright 2000 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.

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