SINGAPORE: The defence for a babysitter on trial for poisoning two babies asserted on Thursday (Feb 27) that a grandmother had planted the drugs in small doses as she did not want her grandchild taken to a babysitter.
According to the defence, the grandmother of the first victim had introduced small amounts of drugs into the baby's food, knowing she would consume it in the babysitter's home.
She purportedly did this as she was angry with her daughter-in-law, who wanted the victim to be cared for by a babysitter.
The grandmother, who has been a nurse since 1980, strongly rejected the claims.
The twist came on the fourth day of the trial against babysitter and registered nurse Sa'adiah Jamari, 38.
She is contesting two counts of administering poisons to a five-month-old baby - the first victim - and an 11-month-old child in 2016.
She is accused of feeding the infants multiple drugs including sleeping pills, antihistamines and medication for anxiety, most of which are not meant for young children.
The mothers of both babies noticed that their children were drowsy whenever they returned from the babysitter, and took them for medical attention.
Both babies were warded in hospitals and toxicology reports found the drugs in their systems.
GRANDMA DID NOT LIKE THE IDEA OF TAKING KIDS TO BABYSITTER
On Thursday, the grandmother of the five-month-old victim took the stand for the prosecution, and described how her daughter-in-law had decided to take her two children to a babysitter.
She said she did not like this as first, as she preferred that her grandchildren be looked after by family - especially since her own daughter was not working and could care for the children.
When cross-examined by defence lawyer Chua Eng Hui from RHTLaw Asia, the grandmother - who cannot be named in order to protect the victim's identity - admitted that she was sad to hear that her grandchildren were taken to a babysitter.
"So you really didn't want (her) to send the two children to the babysitter right," asked Mr Chua.
"If can ... yeah, then she can save the money for her own future, if she want to buy house or what," answered the grandmother.
"But (she) refused to listen to you," continued Mr Chua.
"She got her own preference," replied the grandmother.
"I suggest to you that apart from being sad, you're probably angry at (your daughter-in-law) as well," said Mr Chua.
"Why should a mother be angry?" replied the grandmother. "She also got the right to be a good mother."
"I suggest to you that you were angry enough with her to want to teach her a lesson," said the defence lawyer. "I’m suggesting that you were angry enough that you introduced small amounts of drugs into the baby’s feed knowing she will consume it in the babysitter’s home."
The grandmother rejected both claims.
GRANDMOTHER STANDS BY HER EVIDENCE
She also stood by her evidence that she did not have access to the drugs found in the babies, as only staff nurses and doctors were allowed to prescribe medication, whereas she merely assisted them in her role.
She added that she worked in the surgical intensive care unit and knew only about diazepam, despite the defence suggesting that she should know about all the drugs found in the babies due to her 40 years of experience in nursing.
She also said she had never prepared the formula milk for her grandchild, as her daughter-in-law took charge of all matters for her children and was a capable mother.
She testified that the accused had turned up at her house after she stopped babysitting her grandchildren, in order to return items belonging to the children.
"She came to my house, she wanted to see (my granddaughter) but I say (she's) not in the house. But she insisted on coming into my house, I never let her in," said the grandmother. "Because I find it so weird, why she want to find (my granddaughter)."
After the incident was reported, several of the drugs found in the babies' systems were found in the accused's home, including a handkerchief with diazepam stains.
In November and December 2016, she had been prescribed medication including three of the drugs found in the babies.
The trial continues, with other doctors lined up to take the stand. The judge had also warned the accused's mother, who was caught by a police officer recording court proceedings on Thursday.
If found guilty of administering poison with the intent to cause hurt, Sa'adiah can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined. She cannot be caned as she is a woman.