KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — An Australian was sentenced to five and a half years in prison on Friday for killing a Singapore man and injuring his wife by throwing a wine bottle. The court said the man’s actions reflected religious hostility towards Muslims.
Andrew Gosling threw an empty wine bottle at a dinner with ethnic Malay Muslims two floors below his home in August 2019, hitting Nasiari Sunee in the head. The bottle bounced off and hit his wife in the shoulder. Nasiari, a 73-year-old delivery driver, suffered serious head injuries and died the next morning.
Gosling pleaded guilty to two counts of causing death and assault in February.
Judge Victor Yeo Khee Eng said Gosling showed a “high level of rashness” and disregarded the safety of the group when he threw the bottle. His intoxication may have affected his judgment, but not to the extent that he was mentally deranged, the judge said.
Gosling shouted religiously charged vulgarities after throwing the bottle, and prosecutors showed religious hostility with his actions. The judge agreed, saying that tolerating criminal acts like Gosling’s would undermine Singapore’s racial and religious harmony. About 15% of Singapore’s nearly 6 million multiracial population is Muslim.
The judge also said the ruling had to be a deterrent so people wouldn’t throw dangerous objects from high-rise buildings in a country where many people live in them.
The judge said he considered that Gosling was remorseful, turned himself in, pleaded guilty and voluntarily paid compensation to the family.
He sentenced Gosling to four years in prison for causing Nasiari’s death and 18 months for injuring Nasiari’s wife. The penalties are scheduled to be consecutive from the day of his surrender in 2019.
Nasiari’s wife, Manisah Sitri, declined to comment on the verdict. She was quoted by Channel News Asia as saying that “it’s destiny”. Her son is also reported to have said, “It’s hard to forgive, only time will heal.”
Gosling had only been in Singapore a month before the incident. He told police he had considered using a gun like a gun but decided it was a “heinous act”. He then found the wine bottle in a garbage chute and threw it from the seventh floor at the group, who were attending a housewarming party.
Gosling surrendered to police 10 days later. He told police he threw the bottle to “scare” the group because he was furious over Islamist militant attacks on the Indonesian island of Bali in 2002 and Melbourne in 2018 that had killed Australians.