SINGAPORE: Angry at her employer's husband and hoping to get a new boss, a maid filed a false report claiming that the man had sexually assaulted her.
For knowingly giving false information to a public servant, 32-year-old Indonesian Candra Yunita was jailed four weeks on Thursday (Feb 6).
The court heard that she started working for a 31-year-old woman and her husband, 32, in their three-room flat from June 2017.
Her duties included helping to care for one of their children, who had special needs.
After working for several months, her employers found her work performance to be lacking and reprimanded her, the court heard.
In particular, they were not satisfied with Candra as their daughter with special needs had been injured several times under the maid's care.
SHE WENT TO MOM TO ASK TO CHANGE EMPLOYERS
On Jul 26, 2019, after just requesting for her employers to extend her work permit, Candra went to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) building in Bendemeer Road.
She wanted to request a change of employer, "on account of her well-being and sexual assault by the employer's husband", court documents said.
She was interviewed by an MOM officer and gave a statement saying that her employer's husband had forced her to perform oral sex on him.
This occurred on four occasions between late 2017 and September 2018, she claimed.
Asked why she had waited 10 months before reporting the matter to MOM, Candra said she was scared that her employer's husband would lodge a report against her, if his children were injured because of her.
She added that she was making the report as she "wanted justice to be done".
The MOM officer referred the matter to the police on the same day, and an officer interviewed her.
She gave detailed accounts of the four alleged incidents of sexual assault.
This included details of what her employer's husband had been wearing, the number of times he allegedly thrust himself into her face, the time taken before ejaculation, and even comments he made during the assault.
The officer asked why she had not reported the matter earlier. Candra replied that she "missed the children" and waited before running away.
INVESTIGATIONS INTO THE ALLEGED INCIDENTS BEGIN
That same day, the MOM officer called Candra's employer to inform her that her maid was at MOM and that further investigations were needed.
In the following days, the employer's husband signed a consent form to undergo a polygraph examination, and gave a police statement.
He denied all the allegations Candra had made, but said he had reprimanded her for her poor work performance before.
He denied the allegations again in a second statement, and his wife also denied them in her statement to the police.
She said the incidents could not have happened without her knowledge.
The police took a further statement from Candra on Aug 5, 2019. She admitted that she had given a false statement to the police.
She said she had done so "because she was angry that the employer’s husband would always scold her and threaten to report her to the police, and that she wanted to change employer".
She pleaded guilty to one count of giving false information to a police officer, with another count of doing the same to an MOM officer taken into consideration.
NOT A SIMPLE LIE: PROSECUTOR
The prosecution had asked for at least four weeks' jail, saying that she was extremely detailed on how the alleged sexual assault took place, spanning four pages.
"The accused did not cook up a simple, unsophisticated lie, but had taken effort to invent various details about the assault, including a fake reason for why she took so long to report the matter after the latest
alleged incident occurred," said the prosecutor.
Candra also failed to recant the false information quickly, allowing it to persist for 10 days while she sought shelter at the Indonesian embassy, said the prosecutor.
She owned up only when called to make a further statement, and after the police took statements from her employer and her employer's husband.
For each charge of giving false information to a public servant, Candra could have been jailed for up to a year, fined S$5,000, or both.