Woman convicted of maid abuse has sentencing adjourned after she breaks down in Court

SINGAPORE – A woman repeatedly tormented her domestic helper between August and September in 2017, subjecting the latter to acts of abuse including squeezing her neck until she had difficulty breathing.

The Singaporean offender, now 43, had also slapped the Myanmar national’s cheeks before telling her: “I will kill you today.”

The offender was initially expected to be sentenced on Thursday, but she broke down in the dock and started sobbing.

District Judge Ong Chin Rhu then halted the proceedings, which resumed about 30 minutes later after the woman’s husband calmed her down and she stopped crying.

Defence lawyer Peter Fernando told the court that his client had been diagnosed with clinical depression and panic disorder. She will now be sentenced on Nov 24.

The judge had earlier convicted the woman of six assault charges involving the maid following a trial. She also found the offender guilty of one count of using criminal force on the helper.

Details about the woman and the 24-year-old maid cannot be disclosed due to a gag order, as one of the witnesses – the offender’s son – was a minor when he testified in court during the trial. His age was not disclosed in court documents.

In his submissions, Deputy Public Prosecutor Kumaresan Gohulabalan said the maid started working in the offender’s Sengkang flat in May 2017.

The two women generally had a good relationship at first, but it soured after the offender’s mother returned to India in June 2017.

According to the prosecution, the maid had a practice of leaving her dirty clothes on the toilet floor before they were washed.

But on Aug 15, 2017, the offender told her to move the dirty clothes into a cabinet in a prayer room where the maid’s clean clothes were kept.

The maid complied, but explained that by doing so, her clean clothes would become dirty.

The DPP said: “The accused told the victim not to talk back, and then took a blouse from the dirty clothes and hit her in the face, causing pain when the button on the blouse hit her cheek.”

The maid was feeling unwell three days later and did not comply with the offender’s instructions to unpack some food for dinner.


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