SINGAPORE — A bystander who tried to do the right thing by separating two men fighting during a drinking session had the top part of his left index finger bitten off by one of the brawling pair.
India national Thangarasu Rengasamy, 40, was sentenced to 10 months’ jail on Friday (Sept 15) after pleading guilty to voluntarily causing grievous hurt by biting the victim’s left index finger forcefully.
At the time of the incident, Thangarasu was an excavator operator and resided at a foreign worker dormitory in Kaki Bukit.
The court heard that on the night of April 22 this year, Thangarasu was drinking alcohol with his friend, construction worker Ramamoorthy Anantharaj, 33, near their dormitory at a popular spot for foreign workers to socialise.
During the drinking session, an intoxicated Thangarasu began shouting, prompting another man nearby to voice his displeasure and ask him to pipe down.
As the confrontation escalated, the other man Arumugam Sankar, 42, approached Thangarasu and slapped him.
At that point, the victim, electrical engineering technician Nagooran Balasubramanian, 50, stepped in to try to separate the two men.
As he did so, he also became caught in the struggle and, to quote court documents, “Mr Nagooran’s left index finger inadvertently entered Thangarasu’s mouth”.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Cai Chenghan said that Thangarasu bit down forcefully on his finger and did not let go, knowing that it would likely badly hurt Mr Nagooran.
Both men then fell to the ground as Thangarasu continued to bite down on Mr Nagooran’s finger.
Hoping to help Mr Nagooran, Mr Arumugam tried to pull him away from Thangarasu but the man did not loosen his bite on the finger.
It was only after a few seconds had passed that Mr Nagooran was finally able to pull his bleeding finger out from Thangarasu’s mouth.
Thangarasu then fled the scene and returned to his dormitory.
Mr Nagooran washed his finger with water and that was when he realised that the top portion of his left index finger had been bitten off at the first joint. That section of the finger is known as the distal phalanx.
The severed part of his finger was not found.
With Mr Arumugam’s assistance, Mr Nagooran managed to bandage his finger.
However, worried that the bleeding did not stop, Mr Nagooran called the police for assistance.
He was later taken to Changi General Hospital where he was found to have sustained a partial amputation of the left index finger, which would permanently impair the functions of his finger.
Even though he was advised that he required surgery for the finger, Mr Nagooran discharged himself from the hospital against medical advice because of the costs involved. He was given a total of 14 days of hospitalisation leave.
DPP Cai said that because of the extent of deliberation and the manner and duration of the attack, 10 to 12 months’ jail would be an appropriate sentence for Thangarasu.
In this case, Thangarasu had caused Mr Nagooran to suffer significant pain and a partial amputation of his left index finger, which has likely permanently inconvenienced the victim, DPP Cai said.
For voluntarily causing grievous hurt, Thangarasu could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined or caned.