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Foreigner jailed for breaking taxi driver’s nose after night out at Orchard Towers

SINGAPORE — Heavily intoxicated from a night of drinking at Orchard Towers, Buckley Eugene Gerrard flew into a rage when a taxi driver missed a turn near his home off Stevens Road.

Buckley Eugene Gerrard was heavily intoxicated and flew into a rage when a taxi driver missed a turn near his home.

Buckley Eugene Gerrard was heavily intoxicated and flew into a rage when a taxi driver missed a turn near his home.

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  • Taxi driver Tan Heng Choon missed a turn while taking Buckley Eugene Gerrard home
  • His passenger Buckley Eugene Gerrard​ uttered vulgarities before punching the driver in the face
  • The New Zealander’s lawyer said that Buckley was “anxious” about his job prospects
  • He was jailed 30 weeks 

 

SINGAPORE — Heavily intoxicated from a night of drinking at Orchard Towers, Buckley Eugene Gerrard flew into a rage when a taxi driver missed a turn near his home off Stevens Road.

Buckley punched the driver’s face several times, fracturing his nose. 

The New Zealander also flung the driver’s mobile phone to the ground when the driver said that he wanted to call the police.

Buckley, 59, was on Friday (Jan 29) jailed 30 weeks or about seven-and-a-half months. His sentence was backdated to Nov 20 last year when he was held in remand.

He pleaded guilty to one charge of causing grievous hurt to the 60-year-old taxi driver Tan Heng Choon. Two other charges were taken into consideration during sentencing.

DRUNKEN NIGHT OUT 

The court heard that Buckley went to The Drunken Poet, a pub at Orchard Towers, on the evening of Feb 26 last year and consumed many bottles of beer.

He drank more at another bar and got into Mr Tan’s taxi at about 3am the next day. A woman who was not identified had accompanied him.

He told Mr Tan to take him to his Stevens Close home, but the taxi driver missed the turn there. 

An exasperated Buckley told him: “You idiot, you overshot the location.”

Mr Tan stopped his taxi at the nearby Dalvey Road after being told to do so by Buckley, who said that he wanted to settle the fare. 

While the driver was checking his taxi meter, Buckley repeatedly uttered a vulgarity and grumbled.

He later left the taxi and got into the front passenger seat to hand over his credit card for payment. 

Mr Tan dropped the card.

Losing his cool, Buckley raised his voice and rained punches on Mr Tan’s face. Mr Tan tried to defend himself and managed to block further assaults.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Phoebe Tan said that the driver was in great pain by then, and bled from his face and nose.

Getting out of the vehicle, he asked Buckley why he had punched him. 

Buckley tried to offer money as compensation, asking how much was enough, but Mr Tan said that he wanted to report the matter to the police.

When he picked up his mobile phone to do so, Buckley snatched it and flung it some distance away.

When a passer-by came to Mr Tan’s help, Buckley tried to walk away to his unit at Stevens Close, but Mr Tan held onto his bag to stop him.

Buckley eventually went home, saying that he had to use the toilet.

Mr Tan then noticed that the woman who was with Buckley had also left. Police officers arrived soon after.

Mr Tan, who sought medical treatment at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, suffered a chipped tooth, a nasal fracture and other injuries. He was given four days of medical leave.

He later retrieved his mobile phone, which had cracked.

Buckley has since reimbursed him for his medical bills totalling about S$190.

ANXIOUS AFTER LOSING JOB 

DPP Tan sought eight months’ jail, while Buckley’s lawyer Andre Jumabhoy from law firm Peter Low and Choo asked for six months instead.

The lawyer told the court that Buckley came to Singapore in 2017 and was “quite successful” in the financial technology industry. He lost his job, however, and was unemployed when he committed the crimes.

Mr Jumabhoy said that his client was increasingly anxious about his future and was separated from his partner, who was in Macau then and could not return to Singapore because the borders were shut during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr Jumabhoy said that when Buckley left the bar, he was stressed and experienced some breathing difficulties that caused him to panic slightly. 

“It started because he took the erroneous belief that the taxi driver threw his card.” 

Buckley made no excuse for his acts and was grateful that Mr Tan was not significantly hurt, Mr Jumabhoy said.

He also said that Buckley was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, but accepted that the condition did not have a contributory link to his offences.

For causing grievous hurt, he could have been jailed up to 10 years and fined or caned.

Related topics

assault court crime taxi orchard towers drunk

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