An Australian man pleaded guilty on Friday to hurling a wine bottle from his apartment at a group of Muslims having a dinner party that struck and killed a Singaporean man.
Andrew Gosling is being tried in a Singapore court on a charge of committing a rash act that caused the death of 73-year-old delivery driver Nasiari Sunee in August 2019.
He also pleaded guilty to another charge of injuring Nasiari’s wife.
Prosecutors said the acts demonstrated religious hostility, but the defence said Gosling’s judgement was impaired by alcohol.
Gosling, who had been in Singapore for a month, faces a possible seven years in jail.
They said Gosling committed the offences after seeing a dinner gathering of ethnic Malay Muslims from his apartment balcony.
He told police that he initially thought of using a weapon such as a gun to shoot at the group, but decided against it because he felt it would be a “heinous act.”
When he went to the rubbish chute on the seventh floor where he lived, he found an empty wine bottle and hurled it at the group two floors down, hitting Nasiari on the head as he was about to eat at a relative’s house-warming party.
The bottle ricocheted off Nasiari’s head and struck his wife, injuring her shoulder.
Nasiari received severe head injuries and died the next morning.
Gosling fled after his act but surrendered to police 10 days later.
“This was no random rash act … he had hostile thoughts toward Muslims and acted on his hostility by aiming the bottle at the area near Nasiari’s table,” deputy public prosecutor G. Kannan said.
“He fled the scene to evade detection, shouting crude, religiously charged vulgarities about Muslims. …. The rash act cannot be viewed in isolation. It must be seen together with the religious aggravation,” Kannan said, calling the action “outrageous, senseless and appalling.”
Prosecutors asked the court to sentence Gosling to seven years’ imprisonment because the incident “has the wider impact of causing unease in Singapore, especially amongst the broader Muslim population, and threatens to engender public disquiet.”
Defence lawyer N. Sreenivasan cited a report by medical experts that found alcohol may have impaired Gosling’s judgement.
Gosling had consumed several beers earlier in the day.
The anti-Muslim thoughts “were obsessive negative thoughts which he was prone to when he was intoxicated and did not represent the accused’s true feelings or intentions,” Sreenivasan cited the report as saying.
“What this meant was even if he had committed the offence, it was unlikely to be religiously motivated.”
The report said, however, that the amount of alcohol Gosling consumed was within his usual limit and didn’t cause an unsound mind.
The court said sentencing would be held on April 8.