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Maid jailed for scratching baby's face to get back at employer

SINGAPORE: A 24-year-old Indonesian domestic helper was sentenced to jail for 12 weeks on Monday (Apr 8) for scratching the face of a baby in her care, in order to get back at her employer.

The maid cannot be named to protect the identity of the baby and his twin sister whom she also hurt. 

The woman had been working for the twins' 31-year-old mother for about a year when she committed the offences.

On the morning of Nov 10 last year, the babies' 63-year-old grandmother had put the children to sleep in a stroller in the living room before she went to the kitchen to prepare lunch, the court heard.

At about 10.40am, the maid walked to the living room and brushed her fingers forcefully against the 14-month-old girl, who started crying. 

Her grandmother coaxed her back to sleep before returning to the kitchen.

However, the maid returned in a matter of minutes as she felt that the girl had not cried loudly enough or disturbed her grandmother sufficiently, Deputy Public Prosecutor Ng Jun Chong told the court.

Footage from a closed-circuit television camera in the living room was played in court on Monday, showing the next attack.

The maid was seen walking into the living room and looking around to make sure the grandmother was not watching.

She scratched the boy this time, and rushed to a room when he cried. 

The grandmother, who found scratch marks and traces of blood on the boy's face, called her daughter who was at work at the time. 

The children's mother looked at the CCTV footage via her mobile phone and saw the maid scratching her son's face.

When confronted, the maid denied scratching the children, and her employer made a police report that same day.


The maid later admitted to scratching the boy's face "as she wanted the victim to cry" and annoy his grandmother.

She was upset with the grandmother for scolding her for not keeping the ironing board properly.

She was also upset with the twins' mother for scolding her when her family called the house.

The boy was taken to hospital with scratch marks on his forehead and eyelid.

The maid pleaded guilty on Monday to one count of voluntarily causing hurt to the boy, with a second charge of hurting his sister taken into consideration.

The prosecution had asked for three months' jail, saying that the maid had been hired to take care of the victims but hurt them instead.

"The victim was an extremely vulnerable one because he was only 14 months old and it's clear that he could not protect himself," said Deputy Public Prosecutor Ong Jun Chong.

He added that there was a degree of premeditation in the case, as the maid had planned to annoy her employer and the grandmother.

When asked what she had to say in mitigation, the maid, who was unrepresented, said through an interpreter: "I'm married. And I have one child."

She pleaded for a light sentence.

For each count of voluntarily causing hurt, the maid could have been jailed for up to two years, fined a maximum of S$5,000, or both. 

Source: CNA/ll(gs)


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