An Indian-origin Singaporean was sentenced to 14 weeks in jail on Monday for deliberately coughing at a police officer and using abusive language at a hospital here last year. Devraj Tamil Selvan was also given a three-year driving ban after pleading guilty to four charges, that included using abusive behaviour towards a public servant and riding a motorcycle while already under a driving ban.
District Judge Ng Cheng Thiam considered another 10 charges, such as being drunk in public, before announcing the 14-week prison sentence. The court heard that on September 13 last year the police received a call from a woman who said her sister-in-law's boyfriend was at their home using violence.
Three police officers went to the scene. While they were there, Devraj slapped his girlfriend once on the face, leading to his arrest. When he was taken inside the police vehicle, Devraj claimed he could not breathe and was taken to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital.
At the hospital's accident and emergency department, Devraj removed his mask — which must be worn mandatorily in public places here to stem the spread of COVID-19 — and coughed at a policeman, despite several warnings from the officers and hospital staffers. He later told the police officers: "Take out the handcuff, ***, *****, (expletive in Sinagporean) stupid idiots.
The court also heard that about a month earlier, Devraj's sister-in-law called the police to say that he and her mother were fighting. When police officers got to the scene, they interviewed Devraj who admitted that he had ridden his motorcycle from Chua Chu Kang to Jurong with his girlfriend as a pillion rider.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Eugene Teh revealed that Devraj was previously fined SGD2,000 in 2009 for theft and also served six months in the Singapore Armed Forces' detention barracks for voluntarily causing hurt. Most recently, in October 2019, he was jailed eight weeks for harassment offences.