31-year-old Mark Tan Peng Liat was sentenced to one year in jail on Thursday after he put his 67-year-old father in a chokehold that led to his death during a heated argument last year.
Mark was accused of murder on 10 February 2015. The charge was reduced to culpable homicide not amounting to murder by the time the case went to trial in July the next year.
Mark was eventually convicted of an even lesser charge following a nine-day trial.
The father and son had been quarrelling about money at their home at West coast Rise with the father accusing his businessman son of stealing his money.
Mark did admit to making several withdrawals from an account he jointly held with his father and sister.
The argument turned physical when the elder Tan punched his son. In response, Mark put his father in a chokehold. When his father continued to assault him after Mark released him, the fight continued and the two began scuffling on the floor.
The altercation seemed to have ended when Mark put his father in a second chokehold and thought his Father passed out. Mark got up and walked away while his father was lying on the floor, motionless with his mouth hanging open.
Mark only realised the severity of his chokehold later. He called the police and accompanied his Father to the hospital.
It was too late. Mark’s father died due to “manual compression of the neck with contributory cause of hypertensive heart disease,” according to the autopsy report, with 31 injuries consistent with a struggle being found on his body, evidence that “a significant amount of force” on the neck region had cut off oxygen supply to the brain.
District Judge Eddy Tham said that the prosecution had not proven that Mark knew holding his father in a chokehold would lead to his death. The Judge instead convicted Mark of causing death by a rash act – a reduced charge – since he believed there was “no doubt” that Mark only wanted to restrain his father and did not mean to kill him.
Mark intends to appeal against the conviction and sentence, according to his lawyer.
The prosecution also plans to contest the one-year-sentence and decision to convict Mark for causing a death by a rash act instead of convicting him for culpable homicide.
For causing death by a rash act, Mark may have been jailed for 5 years and fined. If he had been convicted of culpable homicide, he would have faced a maximum of 10 years’ jail and caning.
Mark was also fined $5000 for the illegal possession of 13 air-pistols at court.