An Australian man has been jailed for more than six months after going on a drunken rampage in Singapore en route to the Philippines.
Jason Peter Darragh, aged 44, had been due to catch a connecting flight to Cebu when he was caught on video tussling with policemen at Changi Airport in April.
Jobless Darragh pleaded guilty to assaulting a policeman and using criminal force on the officer’s colleague. He also admitted that he hurled vulgarities at another officer and annoyed a woman while on bail.
Seven other charges were taken into consideration during sentencing today (Thursday, August 31).
Darragh flew from Perth and reached Singapore in the afternoon on April 19. He started drinking at the airport before continuing his binge at the Clarke Quay entertainment area.
By now drunk, he returned to the airport to catch his flight to Cebu, where he was due to meet his girlfriend.
However, in his drunken state he was unable to find his check-in counter. Shortly after midnight he asked a passer-by, Mr Teh Gim Tuck, for directions.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Jason Nim said: “Suddenly, the accused became agitated and began to hurl vulgarities at Teh. Teh ignored the accused and, as he was walking away, the accused suddenly snatched Teh’s mobile phone from his back pocket and threw it on the ground.”
Mr Teh then reported the encounter at the airport’s police post.
Inspector Elzac Lee Chee Keong and Senior Staff Sergeant Koh See Yong approached Darragh. They decided to arrest him after he became aggressive.
When one of the officers took out his handcuffs, the Australian shouted: “You don’t come near me or I will break your face.”
Darragh then put on a pair of headphones and began to dance. When he continued resisting arrest, Senior Staff Sgt Koh took out his baton and struck him.
However, this had no effect on the Australian and he continued to push the officers away.
Darragh then charged at Senior Staff Sgt Koh before striking the officer’s face with his hand. The policeman fell backwards, hitting his back on a metal stand.
Four more policeman rushed to help their colleagues. They finally managed to subdue Darragh and arrest him.
Arrest for grabbing crotch
After being charged and bailed, Darragh was rearrested after he was spotted drunk at Orchard Towers at about midnight on April 25.
Because he had an injured leg, he was taken hospital. At about 1.40am he started abusing the police officer accompanying him with vulgar language.
Then, five days later at 5am, he was accused of annoying a 29-year-old woman by grabbing his crotch near Clarke Quay.
DPP Nim urged District Judge Tan Jen Tse to jail the Australian for eight months and two weeks.
Stressing that Darragh had shown a “gross disregard” for the police officers’ authority, he said: “Public safety was certainly endangered by the accused’s rampage.”
Darragh’s lawyer, Mr S S Dhillon, pleaded for his client to be given the minimum jail sentence and fined.
He said: “He is by nature not a hostile or violent person. He wishes to tender his most sincere apologies to all his victims.”
Darragh’s parents were in court today but they declined to speak to reporters.
The Australian got off lightly for actions. Under Singapore law he could have been jailed for up to seven years and caned for assaulting a police officer.