The Case of Jason Peter Darragh
At around 12:15 am to 12:30 am on April 20, 2017, Australian Jason Peter Darragh and Singapore police officers had a violent verbal and physical confrontation at Changi Airport. Within several hours, videos of the fight circulated the internet. In the viral footage, two officers attempt to engage Darragh in conversation, which likely concerned an earlier event in which Darragh allegedly took man’s phone, threw it to the ground, and then cursed at the man. Upon being approached by the Singapore police, Darragh is seen to place his headphones over his ears and do a dance that incorporated inappropriate gestures. As the police motioned for him to stop and touched his arm, he started acting violently, swinging and pushing at the police officers. When he knocked down one police officer, Senior Staff Sergeant Koh, more police officers rushed in to pin Darragh to the ground. He was then arrested for “using abusive language against public servants and the use of criminal force to deter public servants from discharging their duties,” the police said. In fewer than two weeks, between April 21 and May 1, Darragh had landed himself in more trouble for misconduct.
The Public Prosecutor intends to charge Darrah with eleven offences. Currently, Darragh has been in remand at Changi Prison Complex Medical Centre for over a month, and was offered bail at S$20,000, but has not been bailed out by a Singaporean because any person arrested in Singapore must be bailed out by a Singapore citizen who is older than 21 years old.
What is Happening to Darragh Now?
In the most recent time Darragh reported to Court (June 8, 2017), the prosecutor offered him a plea deal. Assistant prosecutor Lim Yu Hui confirmed that if Darragh pleads guilty, the prosecution will proceed with four counts, the other seven would be taken into consideration during sentencing. According to the Penal Code, Section 225, the act of “offering resistance or illegal obstruction to the lawful apprehension of any other person for an offence” is punishable by “imprisonment for a term which may extend to 5 years and/or with fine.” Furthermore, Lorraine Finlay, an international law lecturer at Murdoch University added that Australia does not have an international prisoners’ transfer arrangement with Singapore, which means if Darragh is sentenced to prison, he will have to serve the entire sentence here in Singapore.
In response to the offered plea deal, Darragh’s lawyer said Darragh is not willing to accept the plea deal because the sentence the prosecution has declared is “a bit too high.”
What is a Plea Deal?
What is it about the so-called plea deal that makes Darragh not want to accept it? A plea deal, otherwise known as a plea bargain or plea agreement, is any agreement in a criminal case between the prosecutor and defendant whereby the defence agrees to plead guilty in exchange for an agreement by the prosecutor to drop some charges, reduce the gravity of a charge, or propose to the Judge a sentence that the defence thinks is reasonable. In other words, the defendant will plead guilty to the original criminal charge(s) for a lighter sentence; this is one permutation of the plea deal. For example, a charge can be reduced from Section 325 of the Penal Code (voluntarily causing grievous hurt) which would be punishable by “imprisonment for a term which may extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable to fine or to caning” to Section 323 of the Penal Code (voluntarily causing hurt) which would be punishable by “imprisonment for a term which may extend to 3 years, or with fine which may extend to $5,000, or with both.”
The benefits of accepting a Plea Deal
Typically a Plea Deal will offer the defendant a lighter sentence or a reduced number of charges that the prosecutor would pursue if the matter goes to trial. In such a scenario, the defendant is given the opportunity to accept the offer thus eliminating the need for a lengthy trial and the risk of a being sentenced with a higher sentence.
How can we help?
Jason Peter Darragh seems to be struggling with the law, and he is only prolonging the process at the expense of everyone involved in the case. Whether you find yourself in Darragh’s position or in that of the prosecution, please don’t hesitate to contact I.R.B. Law LLP. At I.R.B. Law LLP, our team of experienced lawyers can advise and guide you through your legal process with the aim of resolving your matter thoroughly and expeditiously.
We strive to take care of our clients no matter the case. Your first consultation with us is always free, and we would be pleased to hear from you and be of service. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at Hello@irblaw.com.sg or call at 6298 2537.
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