SINGAPORE: A babysitter on trial for poisoning two babies took the stand on Tuesday (Jul 14) and said she did have some of the drugs found in the babies' systems in her home, but denied feeding any of them to the infants.
Registered nurse Sa'adiah Jamari, 38, is contesting two counts of administering poisons to a five-month-old baby and an 11-month-old child in 2016 in separate cases.
After the babies' parents suspected something amiss as their children were drowsy, they took them to the hospital and toxicology reports found 10 drugs in the younger baby and six in the older one.
These include sleeping pills, antihistamines, medication for anxiety and other pills.
Sa'adiah acknowledged on Tuesday that she did have some of the drugs found in the babies' systems and had been given prescriptions for some of them. The drugs that she had in her home include: Alprazolam, medication for anxiety also known as Xanax; chlorpheniramine, an antihistamine; Diazepam for anxiety, also known as Valium; and Zolpidem, a sedative.
However, when asked by her lawyer if she fed any of these drugs to the babies, Sa'adiah repeatedly said: "No."
A scrapbook she had compiled showing pictures of the babies and her own daughters was shown in court, with Sa'adiah explaining that she had made it to "describe the things I love".
A photo of the younger baby's mother was also in the book. Sa'adiah also testified that she had bought items for the first baby such as an electric swing, because she loved her.
Sa'adiah, now a housewife, had been a registered nurse since 2002 and listed her freelance nursing services online.
THE FIRST BABY
The mother of the first victim had hired Sa'adiah after posting a Facebook ad for a Muslim babysitter for her two daughters: The five-month-old victim and her five-year-old sister.
The mother of the victim testified earlier this year that she noticed her younger daughter being "cranky" and tossing around in bed the first time Sa'adiah babysat her.
She noticed a pattern of the baby being very sleepy whenever she fetched her from Sa'adiah's home, and eventually took her baby to a hospital for a check up. The baby was assessed to be "fine", and results for a blood test the mother insisted on came back normal.
It was only when she picked her child up on Dec 9, 2016, that the baby's grandmother was shocked to see the victim so drowsy that the child was admitted to another hospital.
The mother of the second victim came across a viral Facebook post by the mother of the first victim describing what had happened, leading to the discovery of the second case.
The second victim, an 11-month-old baby, was allegedly drugged on Dec 25, 2016 and Dec 26, 2016, when her parents decided to get a nanny to spend a night together.
The child's father testified in February that he dropped his daughter off at Sa'adiah's home on Christmas Day in 2016 and picked her up the next morning.
However, she allegedly had a bruise on her head, appeared lethargic and kept falling over when she tried to stand. Her eyes also rolled upwards "like being drugged", he said.
Defence lawyers Chua Eng Hui and Luo Ling Ling from Luo Ling Ling LLC had tried to argue earlier that there was no case to answer, but the judge said the prosecutors had made out a case against Sa'adiah and called on her to give evidence in her own defence.
ACCUSED HAD WITH HER DOCUMENTS ON THE STAND
On Tuesday, proceedings were disrupted briefly when the prosecution discovered that Sa'adiah had with her several documents on the witness stand.
After examining them, the prosecutor said that there was a jotter book among the documents containing "what appears to be the accused jotting down possible questions that would be asked by the deputy public prosecutor and possible answers to be given".
The defence counsel said he was not aware of this and apologised, and the judge reminded the lawyers to ensure that the witness did not refer to any documents for which no permission had been sought from the court.
The trial resumes on Wednesday morning, with the prosecutors cross-examining Sa'adiah on the stand.
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.