Chew Lee Cheng v Public Prosecutor

CourtMagistrates' Court (Singapore)
JudgeCarol Ling Feng Yong
Judgment Date11 January 2002
Neutral Citation[2002] SGMC 2
Citation[2002] SGMC 2
Published date19 September 2003

Judgment

GROUNDS OF DECISION

Plea

1. The Accused pleaded guilty to 2 charges, both under section 323 read with section 73 of the Penal Code for causing hurt to her domestic maid. The first (PS 2308/01) was for scratching the back of the maids neck with her fingernails and the other for pushing the maid against the wall and then slapping the maid several times on her cheeks (PS 2309/01).

2. 2 other charges were taken into consideration for purposes of sentencing.


Statement of Facts

3. On 6 March 2001, the Accused asked her maid to buy some bread from Cold Storage. When the latter returned with the wrong type of bread, the Accused then asked her to leave the house. The maid complied but stood outside the house crying. Thereafter, the Accused opened the door, dragged the victim from her back by the t-shirt and dragged her into the house. The Accused then scratched the maid at the back of her neck using her fingernails. The Accused then pushed the maid against the wall and slapped the maid several times on the cheeks.

4. The medical report tendered by the Prosecution in connection with the Statement of Facts revealed the injuries on the maid to be: a 2 cm bruise on her right neck, 3 3cm linear abrasions on the back of her neck, erythema on the left neck and an abrasion on the inner surface of the upper lip.


Antecedents

5. The Accused was previously convicted in 1982 of an offence under section 380 of the Penal Code.


Mitigation

6. Counsel for the Accused tendered a fairly lengthy mitigation, setting out the circumstances surrounding the offences and painting for the Court the personal and family background of the Accused. She further highlighted to the Court the fact that the Accused had been the sole caregiver and provider of breastmilk to her now 15-month old baby since birth and stated that if a custodial term is passed, the baby would become the victim of the "unfortunate incident". Counsel urged the Court to be lenient and compassionate in sentencing.


Sentence

7. This is clearly a maid abuse case. In enacting enhanced punishments for maid abuse cases, Parliament has recognized that maids are persons especially vulnerable to abuse by their employers and any form of maid abuse should not be tolerated. With equal zeal, the Courts have also taken a strict view of maid abuse cases and this is reflected in the sentences meted out for this category of cases.

8. The case of PP v Kho Siew Hwa which counsel had cited in her mitigation was an old 1999...

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