Little India riot: Indian fails in bid to get case dismissed

An Indian, part of 25 compatriots charged with involvement in Singapore`s worst riot in 40 years, today failed in his bid to have his case dismissed.

PTI| Last Updated: May 12, 2014, 15:55 PM IST

Singapore: An Indian, part of 25 compatriots charged with involvement in Singapore`s worst riot in 40 years, today failed in his bid to have his case dismissed.

A district court here ruled that the trial of Mahalingam Thavamani, 27, will continue.

The construction worker, who was initially charged with rioting on December 8 last year, faces an amended charge of obstructing Deputy Superintendent of Police N Subramaniam, from dispersing the crowd near the scene of unrest in Little India.

Thavamani, the first man who claimed trial over his alleged role in the riot, has failed in his bid to have his case thrown out of court, the Channel News Asia reported today.

Thavamani`s lawyers had made a "no case to answer" submission, arguing that Subramaniam, the officer who ordered the worker`s arrest that night, had admitted during the trial that he did not recognise the accused.

One of the prosecution`s witnesses, senior investigating officer in charge of the case Inspector Chris Lee, had also testified that there was no evidence to show the construction worker had used any force that prevented the DSP from discharging his duties.

Thavamani claimed he was only waiting for his younger brother who had gone missing in the night`s chaos and has a medical history of fainting spells.

The prosecution said Thavamani did not comply with Subramaniam`s order to leave the vicinity.

The non-compliance, which the prosecution said lasted for about 10 minutes, "did, in fact, frustrate DSP Subramaniam in his attempt to perform his duty".

District Judge Salina Ishak ruled that Thavamani has a case to answer.

The trial is set to continue on May 19.

Thavamani faces a maximum penalty of eight years` jail and a fine, the report said.

He was the first of 25 Indian nationals charged for rioting in Little India, a precinct of Indian-origin businesses, eateries and pubs where most South Asian workers take their Sunday break.
Some 400 migrant workers rioted after a private bus fatally knocked down an Indian pedestrian in Little India. The rampage left 49 officers injured and 23 vehicles damaged.
Singapore previously witnessed violence of such scale during race riots in 1969.