SINGAPORE: A cyclist who jumped onto the bonnet of a car after an altercation with the driver has admitted to harassing the driver with her actions.

Nicolette Tan Shi-en, a 32-year-old Singaporean lawyer, pleaded guilty on Wednesday (Apr 17) to one charge of intentionally harassing driver Elaine Michele Ow, 49, in an altercation in June 2023 that went viral.

A second charge of obstructing the road will be taken into consideration for sentencing.

Tan’s lawyers from Allen & Gledhill revealed that she was diagnosed with a brain tumour shortly after the incident, and cited an expert who said the onset of the tumour likely predates the altercation and could have influenced her behaviour.

However, sentencing was adjourned to May for the defence to obtain clarification on whether the brain tumour had a causal link to the commission of the offence.


The incident occurred on Jun 2, 2023. Ow, who has pleaded guilty to her own charges over the case and is pending sentencing, was driving her car along Still Road South in the same lane as Tan.

When the pair rounded a bend, Tan felt that Ow drove too close to her and exclaimed. She then caught up with Ow at the traffic junction of East Coast Road and Joo Chiat Road, where Ow stopped at a red light.

In the ensuing confrontation, Tan blocked Ow from moving forward by standing in front of her with her bicycle. She then questioned Ow about her “behaviour” and alleged that she had almost been knocked down.

Ow apologised and repeatedly said she needed to get to a cooking class she was due to teach. 

She tried many times to manoeuvre around Tan but was blocked by her.

Tan also tried to open Ow’s car door, with Ow swearing at her.

After Ow carried Tan’s bicycle to the side of the road, Tan jumped onto the car bonnet and Ow drove off with Tan clinging onto the vehicle.

Tan eventually slipped off the car at the entrance of the carpark to i12 Katong mall when the car stopped, and let go of Ow’s windscreen wiper after passers-by coaxed her to do so.

In the dock on Wednesday, Tan looked down as the video clips depicting her aggressive behaviour were played.


Deputy Public Prosecutors Mark Chia and Sunil Nair sought a short detention order for Tan. This is a community-based sentence that does not leave a criminal record, where an offender is detained in prison for not more than two weeks to give them an experience of prison life.

Defence lawyer Sanjiv Rajan sought a fine of S$2,000 instead. He said his client suffers from various conditions, including major depressive disorder.

However, he focused on the brain tumour Tan was diagnosed with shortly after the incident.

The defence sought the opinion of a psychiatrist who said the onset of the tumour could not be ascertained, but likely predated the incident on Jun 2, 2023.

While no definite or specific relationship causing the offence could be found, the influence of the brain tumour on Tan’s behaviour at that time is “highly probable”, said Mr Sanjiv.

He said the location of the tumour, in the left frontal region of the brain, may lead to personality changes, disinhibition and impairment of judgment.

Parties will return to court on May 24 for sentencing.


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