Singapore

Australian's jail term for drunken brawl at Changi Airport extended


He was due to be released from prison in three days, but a rowdy Australian who was involved in a drunken scuffle with police officers will now have to spend more time in jail.

The High Court yesterday added two more months to the jail term imposed on Jason Peter Darragh, 44, following an appeal by prosecutors for a stiffer sentence.

Darragh, who is jobless, was in Changi Airport in transit at the time of the offence and had been drunk and resisted arrest.

The incident was captured in a video that went viral.

He was initially sentenced by a district court last month to a prison term of six months and two weeks, backdated to May 13, when he was remanded in custody.

Yesterday, Justice See Kee Oon said the footage clearly showed that Darragh was intent on obstructing and intimidating the police officers.

"His taunts and verbal abuse demonstrated his complete contempt and disregard for their authority," said the judge.

He noted that police officers are the "most visible" among law enforcement officers, called upon to deal with all manner of risky and unpredictable situations.

"The courts must firmly uphold their authority each time it is undermined."

After he was released on police bail, Darragh twice got drunk and caused annoyance to others near Clarke Quay.

He also verbally abused a police officer who escorted him at a hospital after he was found drunk at Orchard Towers.

Yesterday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Wen Hsien argued that the original jail term was manifestly inadequate, given the degree of "defiance and audacity" displayed by Darragh, and that the airport scuffle had caused public disquiet.

Darragh's lawyer, Mr S. S. Dhillon, said his client regrets his foolish acts and has learnt a "severe lesson".

selinal@sph.com.sg

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