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Man gets 3.5 years' jail, 9 strokes of cane for starting fire that caused explosions outside police post

SINGAPORE — A 31-year-old man, who started a fire outside a police post, smashed its glass panels and vandalised walls near it with the words “ISIS” and “F*** PAP”, was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in jail and nine strokes of the cane on Wednesday (June 30).

Police tape cordoning off an area around the Kallang Neighbourhood Police Post, which is an e-kiosk, on March 14, 2020.

Police tape cordoning off an area around the Kallang Neighbourhood Police Post, which is an e-kiosk, on March 14, 2020.

  • Sivaprakash Mailravanan started a fire outside the Towner Road police post, which resulted in at least 16 explosions 
  • He also smashed the glass walls of the police post and vandalised the walls near it 
  • The court heard that the 31-year-old suffers from a psychiatric disorder 
  • His lawyer urged “sympathy of the court”, saying that Sivaprakash became “mentally disturbed” after his marriage broke down
  • The prosecutor said he is potentially dangerous and the public has to be protected from him

 

SINGAPORE — A 31-year-old man, who started a fire outside a police post, smashed its glass panels and vandalised walls near it with the words “ISIS” and “F*** PAP”, was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in jail and nine strokes of the cane on Wednesday (June 30).

The court heard that Sivaprakash Mailravanan was suffering from a delusional disorder when he committed the acts at Kallang Neighbourhood Police Post, located on the first floor of Block 105 Towner Road, last March. 

Dr Stephen Phang, a psychiatrist from the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), said in his report that Sivaprakash falsely believes that people are conspiring against him and that his long-term goals are being obstructed.  

Dr Phang also said that Sivaprakash, a safety officer, had a “manifestly excessive preoccupation” with the plight of the underprivileged, which changed into an enduring hatred for the Government, reaching delusional proportions.

Sivaprakash fails to accept that his abnormal behaviour emanates from a psychiatric disorder, which could make him a potentially dangerous man if he rejoins society untreated, the psychiatrist added.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Marcus Foo said that jail term of at least three-and-a-half years is warranted because the public needs to be protected from Sivaprakash.  

Sivaprakash’s lawyer Manickavasagam RM Karuppiah Pillai told the court that his client needs “sympathy of the court” rather than punishment, pointing out that he became “mentally disturbed” after his marriage broke down.

“Sentencing him to a high level of time in prison, in my humble submission, won’t work for him,” Mr Manickavasagam said.

Sivaprakash, who attended court via video-link, did not speak in court on Wednesday.

In sentencing Sivaprakash, District Judge Kessler Soh agreed with the prosecutor’s submission and said that the proposed sentence is “reasonable and justifiable” considering the gravity of the offence committed. 

For committing the offence of mischief by fire, Sivaprakash could have been jailed up to seven years and fined. 

For vandalising, he could have been jailed up to three years or fined up to S$2,000, in addition to getting between three and eight strokes of the cane.

He could be jailed for up to another five years and caned with at least six strokes for his offence under the Corrosive and Explosive Substances and Offensive Weapons Act.

A PLAN TO EXPRESS HIS VIEWS

Court documents stated that Sivaprakash developed an interest in social affairs in 2009 and developed the view that various government policies in Singapore were unfair, favoured the well-to-do, and that the authorities were overly restrictive.

In January last year, he wanted to express his deep resentment by staging a protest and passing around flyers but felt that it would not have the effect he desired. 

He came up with a plan to burn down a police station and smash police cars with the goals of giving a speech once a crowd formed and to air his grievances in court after his arrest, DPP Foo said.

He sketched out his plan that detailed where to position his speakers and indicated where police cars would be parked. 

He later revised his plan to create a fire outside the police post because he did not want to affect the residents living above it and decided to create explosions by burning aerosol deodorant cans.

DAY OF THE ATTACK

Before arriving at the police post in a lorry at around 11pm, Sivaprakash drank eight cans of beer.

He also used a pump to extract diesel from the lorry into two 2L plastic bottles and made five trips between his home and the lorry to move the items. 

His brother, Mr Venghadesh Mailravanan, questioned what he was doing but he lied that he was going for reservist and only told him of the plan when probed. 

His brother and his friend, Mr Ravi Kumar Sharma — who later tailed Sivaprakash to the police post — then tried to dissuade him to abort the plan but he would not listen. 

Sivaprakash started by smashing glass panels at the police post using the axe.

He then placed a suitcase containing clothes and the deodorant on the pavement about 3m away from the entrance of the police post, poured petrol over it and set it on fire using a lighter.

There were at least two explosions as a result.

He then tried to make the fire bigger by adding more suitcases and two mattresses to the mix, leading to at least 16 explosions. 

The police received 56 calls from members of the public but no one was injured apart from Sivaprakash himself, who sustained superficial burns on his face and finger.

DPP Foo said that investigations had revealed that Sivaprakash had learnt about the terrorist group Isis some years before the incident and formed the view that the group was being persecuted and turned violent as a result.

“While he did not personally support the said terrorist group, the accused spray painted ‘ISIS’ on the said pillars of the HDB void deck knowing that this would create terror and alarm to those who witnessed this,” DPP Foo told the court.

“He did this to signal to the Government that backlashes may ensue from those the accused perceived to be poor and oppressed.”

Related topics

fire explosion crime court Kallang Neighbourhood Police Post mischief vandalism

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