A Singapore court on Friday sentenced an Australian man to five and a half years in prison for killing an elderly Singaporean man and injuring his wife with a discarded wine bottle, in what the judge called an act of religious hostility towards Muslims.
Andrew Gosling was convicted of “causing death and serious injury by a rash act” for throwing a wine bottle at a group of people two floors below him, beating a 73-year-old man and killing him in 2019. The bottle ricocheted and injured itself. the shoulder of the woman of the man.
“I agree with the prosecution that the current crime involves an element of demonstrating religious hostility towards Muslims,” Judge Victor Yeo said. “Such violations can seriously undermine Singapore’s racial and religious harmony and should not be tolerated and dealt with severely.”
Singapore is a multiracial country of 5.5 million people, about 16% of whom are Muslim, with larger Buddhist and Christian communities. It has a predominantly ethnic Chinese population with significant Malaysian and Indian minorities, according to the 2020 census. The victims have been identified as ethnic Malaysian Muslims.
The court had been told that during the investigation, Gosling admitted that he was “angry and upset” about attacks by Islamist militants in Bali and Melbourne that had killed many Australians, and that he wanted to “scare” the group after denouncing them as Muslims. identified.
Prosecutors said Gosling, who was 49 years old at the time of the crime, ran away shouting “gross, religiously charged vulgarities” about Muslims.
His actions had the “wider impact of causing unrest in Singapore, especially among the wider Muslim population” and showed religious hostility, the prosecutor said.
For most of Friday’s hearing, Gosling, who had pleaded guilty, stared straight ahead, but turned briefly to face his parents, who were in the courtroom.
Gosling’s lawyers had said alcohol impaired his judgment, citing a psychiatric report, arguing that his act is unlikely to be religiously motivated. They added that he plans to appeal the verdict.
The jail term is retroactive to August 2019, when Gosling was taken into custody.