Brawl victims spurn compensation

By Celeste Gorrell Anstiss

Robert Dahlberg, 34, is accused of causing hurt by pushing Paul Liew to hit his face against the pillar. Photo / The Straits Times
Robert Dahlberg, 34, is accused of causing hurt by pushing Paul Liew to hit his face against the pillar. Photo / The Straits Times

Kiwi faces court date on Singapore assault charges

Two Singaporean men hurt in a booze-fuelled brawl say they were offered $20,000 to help cover their medical costs by a Kiwi involved - but didn't accept it because they thought he would use that to get off charges.

Stockbroker Robert Dahlberg, a member of a prominent Nelson family and a well-regarded basketballer, left Singapore a year ago on a short business trip and did not return - thus forfeiting a $23,000 bond. But he went back 10 days ago saying he wanted to deal with the charge of causing grievous bodily harm.

His father, Bill, said his son had acted honourably from the start, including offering to pay expenses for the victims.

But Paul Liew, who suffered a broken nose in the 2010 incident and now has a permanent scar across his forehead, said he was offended by the $20,000 offer.

"It undermines the whole process if he thinks he can pay me off," Liew told the Herald on Sunday. Liew said he was concerned police would drop the case if he accepted payment from Dahlberg.

"It's not about the money. To be throwing cash in another person's face and try and pay them while he was running away ... It's a big sum of money but still, my first priority is that he goes through the justice system."

Liew said he would seek legal advice on potential reparation if Dahlberg was convicted. He was treated for post traumatic stress disorder.

Laurence Wong, who was less seriously injured in the incident which involved three men, said it was well-known in Singapore that expatriate residents would pay out local people to avoid the criminal and civil justice systems.

"We believe a crime needs to be paid by serving time and be given the cane," Wong said.

"I don't want his money, I want him to know how serious our courts are. I will not accept a cent from him, even if it is 10 million bucks.

"He is a coward for running away."

Bill Dahlberg, who is in Singapore with his son, said it would be inappropriate to comment further until the court process was complete.

- Herald on Sunday

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