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S$2,000 fine for fencing coach who threw phone and injured student in the face

She has been suspended from her job but has been contributing on the Covid-19 frontlines, says lawyer

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Singapore — A fencing coach, who has since been suspended from the job, has been fined S$2,000 after pleading guilty to one count of .

Chan Shihan had thrown her mobile phone at a 13-year-old student, causing a cut on his nose that required to be stitched.

She could have been jailed for one year or fined as much as S$5,000.

On Feb 20, 2019, during a lesson at the boy’s school, Chan lost her temper when he did not listen to her instructions, according to a report in the straitstimes.com (ST).

The coach threw her phone towards the boy but did not intend to hit him. She thought it would strike a fencing mask near him.

However, the phone hit the boy in the face, causing a 1.5-cm-long cut on his nose that required to be stitched.

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The names of the boy and his school were withheld.

Chan, 27, used to work for Blade Club Singapore. She was in the school that day to teach a class on fencing.

After a break at 5 pm, she asked the students to gather round her for the resumption of the lesson. However, the boy sat where he was and did not join the group. This irked the  coach and she threw her phone in his direction.

“The accused called out to the victim and asked him to get up but he refused to do so, while hitting his mask, which was on the floor, with his fencing blade instead,” Deputy Public Prosecutor Kenneth Kee was reported as saying.

This annoyed her and she threw the phone in his direction. The court heard that the coach then quickly applied first aid and reported what had happened to the teacher in charge of the class.

The boy later received stitches for the cut on his nose at the KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital and was given medical leave for a week. His hospital bill of S$126.85 was paid for by Blade Club Singapore.

Chan went with the boy to the hospital, where she apologised to his mother. The latter filed a police report the next day.

Since the coach was in a position of authority over the victim, Mr Kee sought a fine of at least S$3,000. But Chan’s lawyer, Mr Laurence Goh, asked that the fine be not more than S$1,500, citing how “very sorry” she was for the incident, which he called “a foolish act”.

He told the court: “It’s to be noted that the moment she threw (her phone), she regretted it.” He added that the boy made a swift recovery, asked to train again and was even chosen to represent his school in a national competition.

Mr Goh added that the coach’s “stress and the urgency” could be due to the tournament the following month and that everyone else was following her instructions, except for the victim.

He said: “The boy was not affected mentally or physically.”

Chan has not been able to coach as she was suspended from the role following the incident, according to Channel NewsAsia. She is the main breadwinner in her family and has received testimonials for being a good coach. He said a low fine would enable the coaching authorities to appeal to the Ministry of Education to let her return to work.

Mr Goh said Chan had also been “contributing positively to society”, during the pandemic, both as an ambulance driver and as a swabber. /TISG

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