Singapore

Driving ban added to ‘park and punch’ driver’s sentence

An "irresponsible and selfish" driver who parked his car indiscriminately and punched another driver when he sounded his horn in protest has been banned by the High Court from driving for a year.

Odd-job worker Fizul Asrul Efandi, 30, initially escaped the driving ban after the district judge who sentenced him to 16 weeks' jail for causing hurt felt his punches did not arise from situations connected to driving.

The judge said the first punch happened as a result of Fizul being agitated by the victim, 54-year-old Chong Kok Soon, honking, while the second arose from Fizul's anger when the victim tried to call the police.

Prosecutors appealed for a driving ban, arguing this approach in analysing Fizul's motivation for each punch was too narrow. Moreover, Fizul was a repeat offender with a road-related conviction in 2014.

The High Court agreed.

In a judgment published yesterday, Judge of Appeal Tay Yong Kwang said the offence was clearly one that had arisen from or was connected with a dispute over the use of a road.

On Sept 11, 2016, Fizul stopped his car along Woodlands Centre Road in front of Block 4A, where each lane is separated by a divider.

Without turning on his hazard lights, he got out and went to a nearby automated teller machine, leaving his passenger in the car. Shortly after, Mr Chong drove up behind Fizul and realised he was blocked, but he could not reverse either as another car had come up behind him.

When Fizul returned minutes later, Mr Chong sounded his horn. He challenged Mr Chong to step out of the car, then spat on and punched him.

POLICE

When Mr Chong tried to call the police, Fizul punched him again.

Justice Tay said: "One action then led to a corresponding reaction, but they were all linked causally and closely to the respondent's irresponsible and selfish hoarding of the road space."

Justice Tay said Fizul could have at least turned on his hazard lights or apologised for blocking the road, but chose to be rude and "totally uncivil" instead.

"It is clearly in the public interest that aggressive drivers who do not control their anger and who pose a danger to the safety of other road users should not be allowed to drive for an appropriate period of time," he said.

Fizul argued that he needed to drive his two oldest children to their schools as school transport was expensive.

This cut no ice with the judge, who noted it was "odd" that Fizul believed maintaining a rented car would be more viable economically than paying for school transport.

COURT & CRIME