Man Jailed for Assaulting 5-Year-Old Autistic Boy At Indoor Playground


On 4 June, a man in Singapore was jailed for a week after he pleaded guilty to one count of voluntarily causing hurt to a child
On Tuesday, while the 28-year-old operation supervisor pleaded guilty to one charge of causing hurt to a five-year-old autistic boy, who cannot be named to protect his identity, another count of a similar charge was taken into consideration for his sentencing.
District Judge Ng Peng Hong sentenced Soo Wen Jie to a week's jail, saying that the offence was committed against a victim who was vulnerable.
He noted that while there was no serious injury, harm was caused to a five-year-old, which calls for the principles of retribution and deterrence, TODAY Online reported.
"Looking at the circumstances — harm was caused to a five-year-old child — this calls for the (sentencing) principles of retribution and deterrence. Fortunately, in this case, no serious injury has been caused," Judge Ng Peng Hong told the accused.
The man, who is a father of two, had kicked the boy in the stomach after he tried to take a plastic shovel from him. During the assault, the man then swung his arm at him, knocking him onto a slide.
The incident on 9 April last year was captured in a closed-circuit television of the indoor playground in Yishun. The footage was shown in the court yesterday.
According to the CCTV footage, the little boy was trying to take a blue plastic shovel that Soo was holding on to, but Soo refused to let go of it.
When the boy tried to take the shovel again and hit Soo's back after getting frustrated, Soo then kicked the boy on his abdomen, causing the boy to stagger backwards.
However, when he tried to hug Soo from behind a short while later, Soo pushed him again. He then swung his right arm backwards, hitting the boy's upper body.
It was when the boy's mother heard the commotion and went to the play area to check. The mother left shortly after with her son, the court heard.
That same night, the boy complained about pain in his abdomen area. Following which, the mother contacted the playground to retrieve CCTV footage. She made a police report the next day.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Chee Ee Ling told the court that the victim suffered both physically and psychologically from Soo's assault, Yahoo News reported.
"When (his) mother hugged him, he cried and said 'naughty uncle beat me', 'why uncle beat me?," DPP Chee said, adding that the boy had nightmares after the incident.
The five-year-old was later referred to a psychologist.
According to the DPP, Soo could have handled the situation better by either going to the owner of the playground or searched for the parent of the child.
"Instead of so doing, he chose to attack a vulnerable young boy instead, not once not twice but as evident from the CCTV footage – thrice," DPP Chee told the court.
According to Soo's lawyer Walter Silvester, his client would have been more understanding if he knew the boy was autistic.
Soo's lawyer argued that his client only wanted to protect his own child and had overreacted. He added that the mother posted the video on Facebook to "vilify" his client despite him offering compensation to the boy's mother.
"This was a case of ignorance," Silvester said, adding that the victim's injuries were "minor," and the psychological harm the prosecution pointed to was "overstated".
He noted that his client should have been "more restrained", but he tried to negate the assault saying that "no great harm has been caused".
While Soo could have been jailed up to two years, fined up to SGD2,000, or both, for voluntarily causing hurt, his lawyer asked for a fine or one-day jail.

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