SINGAPORE — After a night out drinking, a man got frustrated and angry with his intoxicated female friend and swung her forcefully to the ground, causing a head injury that resulted in her death.
On Tuesday (Dec 19), 33-year-old Jason Ong Bing Qi pleaded guilty to committing a rash act not amounting to culpable homicide.
Ong will return to court for sentencing on Jan 16, after his lawyer told the court that the defence team needed time to prepare its submissions.
The defence was awaiting a High Court decision over a similar offence to include in sentencing submissions.
The 33-year-old woman, who was known as “Joey”, had been friends with Ong since early last year. Her full name was removed from court documents.
The court heard that on the night of Nov 5 last year, Joey went drinking with three friends at Club VOX located in Central Mall near Clarke Quay, where she happened to meet Ong who was at the club.
Sometime between 12am and 1am, Joey’s friends began to head home as they had all drunk too much.
Ong then asked Joey if she wanted to leave the club with him and she agreed.
They walked away together though Joey appeared to be dragging her feet.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Emily Koh said Ong knew that Joey was drunk and she was mumbling when she talked, so he offered to book a ride for them to his place.
However, Ong was not able to get a ride so they decided to wait at a taxi stand on Magazine Road nearby.
However, when there were no taxis around, they continued to walk towards Merchant Road where there was more traffic.
As they did so, Joey was leaning heavily against Ong when she suddenly sat on the ground.
He tried to pull her up but she ended up squatting down and refusing to get up or walk further.
Frustrated and angry, Ong took her mobile phone and threw it onto a grass patch nearby.
After she picked up her phone, the two kept walking until they were on the pavement near Raffles Education Square along Merchant Road.
There, Ong apologised for throwing her phone but Joey was unhappy and pushed him away, saying that she wanted to go home.
Frustrated at her for repeatedly refusing his offer to take her home, Ong grabbed her with both hands and swung her body to the left, causing her to land on her back on the concrete ground with impact, DPP Koh said.
Closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage of the incident showed that Ong’s actions had been so forceful, Joey’s body flipped over mid-fall.
Even though she was lying motionless on the ground, Ong did not check on her and instead walked away, returning to the club.
During the course of investigations, Ong admitted that he had used too much strength in swinging her to the ground because he was frustrated with the situation.
HELP FROM PASSERS-BY
About 20 minutes after the incident, passers-by discovered Joey lying motionless on the ground.
They helped to take her to a sheltered walkway to rest and when they spoke to her, she was incoherent.
At this point, Joey’s mobile phone rang and she accepted the call from her friend on speaker mode before handing the phone to one of the passers-by.
As one of the passers-by happened to be working as a Grab driver, he communicated with Joey’s friend over the phone and agreed to take her home for S$50.
During the journey home, Joey’s eyes were closed, with her head tilted to one side and she occasionally made vomiting and grunting sounds.
When they arrived, the driver took her up to her home where a domestic worker took over to clean her up and change her clothes before leaving her on the bed to sleep.
Sometime around 3.30am, Joey’s husband returned home and heard her snoring.
At 11am, he woke up to find her still sleeping and snoring so he left the house for lunch.
When her husband returned home at around 3pm, he noticed that she was still in bed in the same position but she was no longer snoring.
This time, her body was cold to the touch and her eyes were open, and she did not respond to him when he nudged her.
He then called 995 and performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on her as instructed by the emergency personnel until an ambulance arrived.
Joey was later pronounced dead at 3.33pm.
An autopsy conducted on Nov 7 found that she had suffered internal bleeding in the head with multiple blood clots, a skull fracture and bruising on the brain.
She also sustained a fracture on her right rib and several other injuries such as abrasions and bruises on other parts of her body.
The autopsy report certified that the cause of her death was “head injury”.
The CCTV footage showed that when Ong swung Joey to the ground, the right side of her body was the first to hit the ground.
The autopsy found that the skull and rib fractures were both on her right side, which would be consistent with having been sustained from the fall.
For committing a rash act not amounting to culpable homicide, Ong could be jailed for up to five years or fined, or both.