Public Prosecutor v Yeo Gek Hong

CourtMagistrates' Court (Singapore)
JudgeGilbert Low Teik Seang
Judgment Date02 January 2003
Neutral Citation[2003] SGMC 1
Citation[2003] SGMC 1
Publication Date02 October 2003
Plaintiff CounselToh Yung Cheong (Deputy Public Prosecutor)
Defendant CounselGoh Peck San ( P S Goh & Co)

1. The accused, Yeo Gek Hong, claimed trial to the following charge which was marked as Exhibit P1:

"You … are charged that you on or about the 2nd day of March 2001, at or about 4.00 pm, at Blk 317 Jurong East St 31 #10-161, Singapore, did voluntarily cause hurt to one Kitri Isna (F/21 yrs), whom you have employed as a domestic maid, to wit, by slapping her face, her head, pulling her ears and bang her head against the floor, and you have thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 323 read with Section 73(1) of the Penal Code, Chapter 224.”

2. At the end of her trial, I acquitted the accused on the following grounds.

Prosecution's case

Maid’s Evidence

3. The complainant, Kitri Isna, was working for the accused as a domestic maid at the material time. She started working for the accused some time in November 1999 at the accused’s flat at block 317 Jurong East Street 31 #10-61 Singapore. Her duties were to take care of the accused’s new-born baby and cleaning the flat.

4. In examination-in-chief, she testified that in the afternoon of 2 March 2001, she was taking care of the baby in the living room when she allowed the baby to play with a shoe. The accused who saw this happening, got angry and suddenly pulled her t-shirt and threw her on the floor. Whilst on the floor and with her face facing upwards, the accused stood in between her and hit her on the left and the right sides of her face. To ward off the blows, the complainant turned her head to the left and the right and thereafter, the accused slapped her left and right cheeks. Then, the accused scratched her left and right ears and pulled them. The accused then lifted her head and knocked it against the floor twice.

5. The time of this alleged assault took place between 4 to 5 pm. The accused then went to the clinic with the baby at about 6 pm. After the accused left the flat, the complainant packed her belongings, took her passport which she knew where the accused kept it, $27 in Malaysian currency and a round-shaped metal object ascertain to be a gold coin. She left the flat and took a taxi to the ferry terminal at World Trade Centre for Batam where she paid the taxi driver $20 in Malaysian currency for a S$10 fare. As it was already late and the last ferry had left for Batam, the complainant bumped into one Mr Na’aim bin Miswan, who worked for the ferry service. After being assured by Mr Na’aim’s wife over the phone, the complainant agreed to follow Mr Na’aim to his home for the night.

6. Mr Na’aim’s wife, Madam Kamisah bte Buang, took the complainant to the Indonesian Embassy the next day which was 3 March 2001. As the embassy was closed, they went to the nearby Tanglin Police Station where the complainant lodged her police report (Exhibit P2). Photographs of her alleged injuries were taken in the afternoon of 3 March 2001 and admitted as Exhibit P3. Exhibit P2 stated the date of the alleged assault to be 1 March 2001. Pursuant to clarification by the deputy public prosecutor, the complainant at first clarified that the date of the incident was 2 March 2001 in the evening (bottom of page 9 of the notes of evidence) as she was confused. Strangely, pursuant to further questioning by the learned deputy, she reverted to 1 March 2001 as the date of the alleged assault and 2 March 2001 as the day she made the police report (page 10 of the notes of evidence). She later reverted to the first version, that is, 2 March being the date of the assault and 3 March being the date of the police report (page 11 of the notes of evidence).

7. Concurrently, at about 11.15 am on 3 March 2001, the accused’s husband lodged a police report informing about the maid’s disappearance and missing items including the maid’s passport, her work permits, $3,500 and a gold coin (see Exhibit D1). Pursuant to this report, the maid was arrested and subsequently charged for theft as a servant. She pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced to 3 weeks of imprisonment.

8. In her cross-examination, another account of the chronology of the events appeared, namely, 1 March was the date of assault, 2 March was the date she ran away and 3 March was the date of the police report (see pages 16, 20 and 21 of the notes of...

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