Cabby ‘victim’ charged for punching his ‘assailant’
Cabby supposedly attacked by Norwegian charged with hitting him first, giving false info
The case of a cabby who was supposedly attacked by a drunk Norwegian has taken on a twist. The "victim" has been charged with hitting his "assailant" first.
Former DHL director Arne Corneliussen, 51, was sentenced to 10 weeks' jail earlier this year after pleading guilty to attacking taxi driver Chan Chuan Heng after an argument at Boat Quay on Sept 22 last year.
After reading a newspaper report on the case, two witnesses came forward to provide fresh evidence that Chan had attacked Corneliussen first.
The Norwegian's conviction for voluntarily causing hurt was quashed and his case sent back to the courts for a retrial.
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The 47-year-old cabby "victim" was charged in the State Courts on Monday with providing false information to the police.
Court papers stated that Chan had falsely told the police that Corneliussen slapped him on the right cheek with his left hand after he said he was going to the toilet.
He also faces a second charge of voluntarily causing hurt to Corneliussen for allegedly punching the left side of his head with his right hand.
For his second charge, Chan faces a jail term of up to two years, a $5,000 fine, or both.
For the first charge, he can be jailed up to a year and/or fined up to $5,000. Chan's case will be heard again at a later date.
According to the facts of the original case, Cornelissen had turned violent and attacked Chan for refusing to take him as a passenger at Boat Quay on Sept 22 last year.
Two witnesses told the police that they saw the drunk Corneliussen pinning Chan down while choking him.
Corneliussen, a Singapore permanent resident, pleaded guilty to one count of voluntarily causing hurt. Another charge of slapping the cabby was taken into consideration.
He told the court that he had little recollection of what happened as he was drunk, but added that it was "not (in his) nature" to be violent.
During sentencing, District Judge Lim Tse Haw had said the attack was sustained and brutish and he wanted to send a clear message to ensure public transport workers could work in a safe environment.
But new evidence surfaced after Mr Mohamed Ayub Shaik Dawood, a Fullerton Hotel employee, and his friend, Mr Roslan Zainal, came forward to describe what they had seen that night.
They filed affidavits in the Supreme Court stating that Chan was the aggressor and had punched Corneliussen during their argument.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Wong Kok Weng said the new witnesses were not at the scene when the police arrived and did not come forward during investigations.
Mr Wong maintained that the earlier conviction was not wrong as the prosecution had worked with the evidence available to it.
Corneliussen told the court in an affidavit in May that "Mr Chan has profited from his dishonesty".
He had met Chan in January and paid him $30,000 in compensation as a gesture of goodwill.
After his conviction was quashed in May, he was released on $5,000 bail after serving six out of his 10 weeks' jail sentence.
He also lost his job as a director of multi-national logistics company DHL as a result of the case.
His new trial has been scheduled for December.
CHAIN OF EVENTS
Sept 22, 2014: Witnesses tell police they saw Norwegian Arne Corneliussen pinning cabby Chan Chuan Heng and choking him at Boat Quay.
Dec 8: Corneliussen is charged in the State Courts with two counts of voluntarily causing hurt to Chan. He is also sacked by his employer.
March 24, 2015: Corneliussen pleads guilty to one charge. The second charge is taken into consideration.
April 1: District Judge Lim Tse Haw sentences Corneliussen to 10 weeks' jail.
May 8: Corneliussen's conviction is quashed after two new witnesses file affidavits saying that Chan was the aggressor, after reading newspaper reports on the Norwegian's sentence.
Sept 14: Chan is charged with providing false information to police and for voluntarily causing hurt to Corneliussen.