National University of Singapore (NUS) law professor, Sundram Peter Soosay, 43, has been found guilty of assaulting a taxi driver while drunk.
Mr Soosay, who is a Singapore permanent resident and has been working at NUS since 2008, was lambasted by District Judge Victor Yeo in court.
Judge Yeo said Mr Soosay’s testimony was “riddled with hindsight reasoning, convenient conjecture and hypothesis”.
Judge Yeo then sentenced the law professor to four months jail and ordered him to compensate the taxi driver, 71-year old Sun Chun Hua.
The accused could have been sentenced to up to two years’ jail and a fine of S$5,000.
The assault took place at about 5am on Christmas Day, 2013.
Mr Soosay had boarded Mr Sun’s cab after a Christmas gathering, and later vomited in the taxi. He alighted near King Albert Park along Clementi Road and walked away without paying his fare.
Mr Sun chased after him for it and threatened to call the police on Mr Soosay. The latter then handed a $50 note to Mr Sun, who walked back to his cab to get the change.
Suddenly, Mr Soosay pounced on the elderly driver, striking him from behind, knocked him to the ground and punched his face repeatedly.
It was an eye-witness who saw the scuffle and shouted at the two to stop. The man also noted that Mr Sun “did not look like he was capable of defending himself.”
That eye-witness was later identified as Matthew Auw, who later also testified at the trial.
It was also Mr Auw who took Mr Sun to hospital to receive medical treatment for his injuries.
In his judgement, judge Yeo noted that the attack took place at a time when there was less foot traffic and that Mr Sun was at his most vulnerable.
“I did not sense any remorse (in you), and you have a lackadaisical attitude towards compensation,” the judge told Mr Soosay in court on Friday.
Judge Yeo also described Mr Sun as a victim of gratuitous violence, and that he had been unable to work for 17 days after the attack.
Mr Sun too has been so traumatised by the incident that he has stopped picking up drunk passengers altogether.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Michael Quilindo asked for a sentence of between four to six months. He said that Mr Soosay had “clobbered the victim relentlessly”. He added that Mr Sun had done nothing to deserve the assault.
Mr Sun’s daughter, Emily Sun, had posted online about the assault on her father at the time.
She described how the assault happened:
“When my father open the door, suddenly this idiot took something and hit at the back of my father head.. he keep on beating him until my father head bleed.. this man stil not happy and turn my father and took something and bit his forehead.
“My father told me on that time he have no energy and no strength to push him away and he give up (my father is aready 70 years old )..”
In the meantime, Mr Soosay’s biodata is still listed on the NUS website here.
It lists his special interest as “jurisprudence” and that he taught “Introduction to Legal Theory”.
“Originally from Malaysia, Sundram Soosay has lived in Scotland for the past 20 years,” the NUS website says. “He graduated from Strathclyde University in Glasgow, before going on to spend an extended period at Edinburgh University, where he obtained his LLM and PhD, and later held positions as a research associate and a teaching fellow.”
In a statement in May, an NUS spokesman said Mr Soosay had been suspended without pay, and the university “will now determine what further disciplinary action should be taken”.
It is also not known if his permanent residency status will be revoked.
Meantime, Mr Soosay will be appealing his sentence and has been released on $20,000 bail.