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Youth gets jail, cane for various offences, including fatal attack on another teen

SINGAPORE — His victim hardly provoked him, yet that did not stop 19-year-old Jeron Liew Wei Jie from beating the youth to a pulp even after he became unconscious.

Reuters file photo

Reuters file photo

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SINGAPORE — His victim hardly provoked him, yet that did not stop 19-year-old Jeron Liew Wei Jie from beating the youth to a pulp even after he became unconscious.

On Thursday (Aug 11), Liew was sentenced to eight years and six months in jail, and 24 strokes of the cane, for voluntarily causing grievous hurt to his victim, Kelvin Gan Teck Xiang, who later died, as well as for two other offences, robbery with hurt and drug consumption.

Liew was convicted of these three charges in April this year. Two counts of having a knife in public and two charges of having cigarettes as a minor were considered during sentencing.

The district court heard that on May 23 last year, Gan, the 18-year-old victim, had checked into a hotel for a friend’s 18th birthday the next day.

Just after midnight, Gan and his friends went to Club Casanovi at Parklane Mall.

At about 2am, Gan and his friends bumped into Liew, who was getting supper opposite the mall. Liew went up to the group as he knew one of Gan’s friends, and found the victim to be “acting proud and showing a bad attitude”.

He also thought Gan was boasting about belonging to a gang and challenged him to a fight, but the victim declined to do so.

When Gan made a phone call, Liew thought he was calling for “back-up”, and pulled the former by his collar into an alley.

Liew then challenged Gan to a fight, but the latter did not take the bait. At about 2.45am on May 24, Liew punched Gan’s face twice, causing his victim to fall backwards, hitting his head on the ground. Liew pulled his collar and called out to Gan but he was unconscious.

After slapping Gan’s face twice, Liew then forcefully hurled the youth’s head down to hit the kerb and kicked his face twice, before Gan’s friends pulled Liew away.

Gan’s friends later called for an ambulance when they realised that he was unresponsive.

In sentencing Liew, District Judge Lim Keng Yeow said the case “stands out as being among the most serious” one involving youthful offenders in recent years at the State Courts.

He noted that there was “virtually no provocation” by Gan, but Liew had “persisted in his brutish violence in the absence of any retaliation by the victim”.

“In fact, even after the victim had fallen to the ground unconscious, (Liew) remained unrelenting in his aggression,” he added.

Apart from deterrence, District Judge Lim said “retributive and proportionality considerations feature significantly” in this case.

“A family came to lose a son irretrievably and under the most senseless of circumstances.

“The court is acutely aware that no words will be sufficient to describe the grief and pain that the victim’s family has borne for more than a year ... grief and pain that may continue for some time, in spite of today’s outcome,” the judge said.

Separately in January this year, Liew and two friends ambushed lorry driver, a 29-year-old foreign worker from India, at a pathway near a canal at Upper Jurong Road.

They covered his mouth, punched his head and stomach, pushed him to the ground and held onto his arms and legs. His two friends then grabbed the lorry driver’s two mobile phones worth S$370 and fled.

The following month, Liew was caught for consuming “Ice”. He told the authorities that he had been consuming the drug since late 2013.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Sarah Shi called for nine years’ jail with 24 strokes of the cane, while defence lawyer Kalidass Murugaiyan asked for a jail term of between five and six years.

District Judge Lim said the sentence has to reflect “society’s utter abhorrence” of Liew’s actions, adding that reformative training (RT) is “clearly inappropriate as being inadequate”.

“Given its nature and duration, RT would not sufficiently reflect the gravity of this case,” he added.

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