Singapore — A 47-year-old United States national was given a three-month jail sentence on Wednesday (Jun 23) for attacking an immigration officer on Nov 1, 2020.
However, his lawyer says that Robert Joel Trussell has suffered much since the incident, including losing his job and not seeing his wife and daughter for quite some time. The loss of his job has also meant his daughter has had to stop her schooling. He had to also sleep on a friend’s couch, or even sleeping outdoors at times.
Trussel has also written a letter of apology for the incident, which he would like to personally give to the victims, his lawyer said.
“He has lost about 15kg to 20kg due to stress and lack of finances… (The offences are) uncharacteristic of Robert and he promises not to allow this to happen again,”
It was reported that Trussell was drunk during his run-in with four officials, which occurred after he, along with his wife and three friends, had spent the day at Lazarus Island.
The group had shared meals and consumed alcohol during their outing.
When Trussell returned alone using a ferry to Marina South Pier at around 6.30 pm, an officer from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA), who was in uniform, attempted to subject him to a more thorough check due to a protruding object in the pocket of his shorts.
The Singapore officer asked the American to stop.
But Trussell did not heed the instructions from the ICA officer and kept on walking towards Marina South Pier MRT Station.
The officer then ran after Trussell, and asked an auxiliary policewoman for help in stopping him.
When they caught up with him, he resisted their efforts, swinging his arm against the officer and pushing the auxiliary policewoman against a steel column.
They continued to chase Trussell as he went in the direction of the MRT station. Meanwhile, another officer as well as a Kusu Island guide stepped in to help apprehend the American.
The four officials managed to apprehend Trussell moments before he got past a faregate at the MRT.
However, in their attempt to stop him, one ICA officer was pushed by Trussell with both hands, which led to the officer’s fall to the ground with a sprained wrist and a bruised shoulder blade and hip.
The officials were able to finally pin Trussell to the ground.
Yahoo Singapore reported that even after the police were called and Trussell was handcuffed, he continued to struggle and remained uncooperative.
On Wednesday, he pleaded guilty to one charge of causing hurt to a public servant to deter him from discharging his duties, an offence that could have landed him a seven-year jail sentence, as well as fined or caned.
He was sentenced to three months in jail by District Judge Tan Jen Tse, who also considered two other charges in the sentencing, including using criminal force.
According to Trussell’s lawyer, Mr Kevin Liew from law firm Gloria James-Civette & Co, the American lost his job after the incident when he was being investigated. He has not seen his wife in person since January of this year when she left Singapore. Neither has he seen his daughter since December 2019.
TODAY quotes District Judge Tan as saying, “In your favour, I take into account the factors raised by your counsel — your remorse, plea of guilt and clean record. However, these do not mitigate against the seriousness of your offences.”
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