KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — An Australian was sentenced Friday to five and a half years in jail for killing a Singaporean man and injuring his wife by hurling a wine bottle, with the court saying the man's actions reflected religious hostility toward Muslims.
Andrew Gosling threw an empty wine bottle at a dinner gathering of ethnic Malay Muslims two floors below his apartment in August 2019, hitting Nasiari Sunee on the head. The bottle ricocheted and struck his wife on the shoulder. Nasiari, a 73-year-old delivery driver, suffered severe head injuries and died the next morning.
Gosling pleaded guilty in February to two charges of causing death and injury.
Judge Victor Yeo Khee Eng said Gosling displayed a “high degree of rashness" and disregarded the group's safety when he threw the bottle. His inebriation may have impaired his judgment but not to the extent of causing an unsound mind, the judge said.
Gosling shouted religiously charged vulgarities after throwing the bottle, and the prosecution his actions demonstrated religious hostility. The judge agreed and said tolerating criminal acts like Gosling's would undermine Singapore’s racial and religious harmony. About 15% of Singapore’s multiracial population of nearly 6 million are Muslim.
The judge also said the sentence needed to be a deterrent so people wouldn't throw dangerous objects from high rises in a country where many people live in them.
The judge said he took into account that Gosling was remorseful, turned himself in, pleaded guilty and voluntarily paid some compensation to the family.
He sentenced Gosling to four years in jail for causing Nasiari's death and 18 months for causing injury to Nasiari's wife. The sentences are to run consecutively from the day he surrendered in 2019.
Nasiari's wife, Manisah Sitri, declined to comment on the sentence. She was quoted by Channel News Asia as saying that “it’s fate." Her son also reportedly said: “It’s hard to forgive, only time will heal this.”
Gosling had only been in Singapore for a month before the incident. He told police he thought about using a weapon such as a gun but decided it was a “heinous act.” He then searched for the wine bottle in a trash chute and threw it from the seventh floor at the group attending a housewarming party.
Gosling surrendered to police 10 days later. He told police that he threw the bottle to “startle” the group because he was angry over Islamic militant attacks in the Indonesian island of Bali in 2002 and in Melbourne in 2018 that had killed Australians.