SINGAPORE, Oct 26 — During an argument with his pregnant girlfriend over whether to keep or abort their baby, a 24-year-old man repeatedly punched and kicked her abdomen and face, causing multiple bruises and a possible bone fracture.

Shawn Tan Jia Jun, 24, was fined S$3,500 (about RM 10,785) yesterday after pleading guilty to one count of voluntarily causing hurt to his girlfriend, who was nine weeks pregnant.

The court heard that the assault took place on July 15 last year, five days after the couple found out about the pregnancy.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Tan Pei Wei said that they had visited a women’s clinic, and the doctor warned his girlfriend that if she wanted an abortion, they should come to a decision before July 17 to prevent further risk of medical complications, 

On the day of the assault, Tan and his girlfriend got into a heated dispute at his place when they were discussing what to do with the pregnancy. Court documents did not disclose who took which side of the argument.

In the midst of the argument, Tan pushed his girlfriend onto the bed before he punched and kicked her abdomen many times. He also repeatedly punched her face.

Tan’s mother, who was at home at the time, heard the commotion and stopped the dispute. The victim later called her friend, who accompanied her out of Tan’s home.

Later that day, Tan’s girlfriend sought treatment at the National University Hospital where she reported pain on her face, chest and abdomen. She also had several bruises over her upper and lower limbs.

She was diagnosed with a possible bone fracture on her face, but was unable to be X-rayed to confirm the diagnosis as that would risk exposing the foetus to radiation.

An ultrasound scan also showed that the foetus’ heart was beating, DPP Tan said, who sought at least two weeks’ jail for Tan.

Tan’s lawyer, Terence Yeo from TSMP Law Corporation, told the court that Tan had not set out to cause any harm to his girlfriend.

He said that Tan had hit his girlfriend while she tried to stop him from leaving the bedroom.

“It was an instinctive and impulsive reaction to what had happened then,” Yeo said, adding that Tan was young and stressed out at the time and had acted disproportionately.

Although his girlfriend aborted the baby after the incident, the couple has since gotten back together and will be getting married later this year, Yeo said.

Tan’s girlfriend has forgiven him and had approached the police and asked them to drop the charge against Tan, the lawyer added.

During sentencing, District Judge Wong Li Tein said she noted the prosecution’s argument that Tan’s assault on his girlfriend while she was pregnant was particularly serious.

However, she said that his girlfriend had probably accepted that Tan did not harm her in the “vicious sense”, but that the incident arose spontaneously out of a dispute over whether to keep the baby, which had to be decided over a short period of time.

Since his girlfriend has agreed to marry him, this establishes that she had forgiven him, the judge added.

“That, to me, should be the greatest victory to you, more than any light sentence you might receive,” District Judge Wong said to Tan.

For voluntarily causing hurt, Tan could have been jailed for up to three years or fined up to S$5,000, or punished with both. — TODAY