KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) – An Australian was sentenced Friday to five and a half years in prison for killing a Singaporean man and injuring his wife by throwing a wine bottle, with the court saying the man’s actions were a reflection of religious hostility towards Muslims.
Andrew Gosling threw an empty wine bottle two floors below his apartment at a dinner gathering of ethnic Malaysian Muslims in August 2019, hitting Nasiari Sunee on the head. The bottle bounced off and hit his wife on the shoulder. Nasiari, a 73-year-old delivery boy, suffered serious 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 ignored the group’s safety when he threw the bottle. His drunkenness may have impaired his judgment, but not to the extent that it caused an unhealthy mind, the judge said.
Gosling screamed religiously charged vulgarities after tossing the bottle, and the accusers showed religious animosity. The judge agreed, saying that 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 is Muslim.
The judge also said the punishment should be a deterrent so people wouldn’t throw dangerous objects from high-rise buildings in a country where many people live.
The judge said he took into account that Gosling repented, turned himself in, pleaded guilty and voluntarily paid damages to the family.
He sentenced Gosling to four years in prison for causing Nasiari’s death and to 18 months for injuring Nasiari’s wife. The sentences will run consecutively from the day he surrendered 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 fate.” Her son also reportedly said, “It’s hard to forgive, only time will heal.”
Gosling had only been in Singapore for a month before the incident. He told police he was thinking of using a weapon such as a pistol, but decided it was an “atrocious act.” He then searched for the wine bottle in a waste chute and threw it from the seventh floor to the group 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 angry over attacks by Islamist militants on the Indonesian island of Bali in 2002 and in Melbourne in 2018 that killed Australians.