District Judge Low Wee Ping asked prosecutor of Mohamed Rossly Mohamed Kassim’s case to consider the jail term of five to six months recommended to be imposed on a man for being an accomplice of a motor insurance fraud.
Judge Low said that the situation of Mr Rossly is exceptional, adding that the man is also the sole breadwinner providing for his wife and two young children, two sons from his first marriage, and his aged parents.
The 40-year-old man was named as the phantom driver in a staged accident to scam an insurance company after being riddled with hospital bills after his daughter was afflicted by a life-threatening condition.
District Judge Low Wee Ping said to Rossly in her deliverance of the sentence, “I convey my sympathies for what you have gone through. You have committed an offence, you have to face the punishment. I hope you will be able to take ‘no-pay leave’ and that SMRT (will continue to employ you).”
“I want to assure you that you could have faced a much higher sentence,” she added.
Defence lawyer Lee Mong Jen said that Mr Rossly became embroiled in the massive fraud ring, involving more than S$1 million in bogus claims over two years, as her client’s family situation was “definitely out of the ordinary”.
The Lawyer told the Court that Rossly’s daughter suffered from biliary atresia.
Biliary atresia is a rare disease of the liver and bile ducts that occurs in infants. Symptoms of the disease appear or develop about two to eight weeks after birth. Cells within the liver produce a liquid called bile. Bile helps to digest fat.
Baby Auni then urgently needed a new liver. However, she failed in getting a transplant after four near misses.
Ms Lee said that the baby’s medical bills reportedly totalled up to S$280 a month, with another S$320 to S$400 needed for nutritional supplements.
The doctor put her on life support and she was placed in ICU for her last days due to a pulmonary haemorrhage in January 2012, just before her first birthday but eventually passed away.
Six months later, Mr Rossly was recruited by Rahmat Mohd, who was the right-hand man to the mastermind of the fraud ring.
He then took up the “job” and “collided” with two other cars at Bukit Batok heavy-vehicle car park on 17 July 2012. However, he failed in the claim and received nothing.
Pleading for leniency, Ms Lee said, “He was confronted with exceptional circumstances and fell prey to the ‘lifeline’ offered by Rahmat.”
She also stated that a shorter jail term may allow him to request for no-pay leave from his employer, instead of having to leave his job.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Kenneth Chin agreed that Rossly’s circumstances should be taken into consideration.
However, he stressed that the circumstances must not be given “undue weight”, noting that the prosecution had proceeded with only one charge against Rossly and had taken two other counts into consideration.