3 more months' jail for 'relentless tormentor' of maid

Chan Huey Fern will start her three months' jail time after she completes her 21-month term for being convicted of inflicting serious injuries on her maid. Her case was said to be one of the most distressing maid-abuse cases.
Chan Huey Fern will start her three months' jail time after she completes her 21-month term for being convicted of inflicting serious injuries on her maid. Her case was said to be one of the most distressing maid-abuse cases.ST FILE PHOTO

Extended time given for hitting maid's back twice with foldable chair

SHE was described by the trial judge as a "relentless tormentor" who abused her maid over nine months in 2010.

The mother of two repeatedly ill-treated the maid physically and mentally, using her hands first and then household objects to hit her.

Ms Juwarti, then 22, who began working for the family in February 2009, had bruises around her eyes, groin and her private parts.

The trial judge who convicted her last year after a 13-day trial said the injuries, particularly those in her groin and vagina areas, were appalling.

While serving her 21-month jail term for the abuse, Chan Huey Fern, 33, was back in court yesterday. This time, Chan pleaded guilty to one of seven outstanding charges. She faced 12 charges in all.

She was given three months of jail time for hitting the Indonesian maid's back with a foldable chair.

District Judge Lee Poh Choo yesterday agreed with District Judge Low Wee Ping, who said this was one of the most distressing maid-abuse cases, adding that the cruelty and violence on the young woman was "horrifying".

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jason Chua said that sometime between July and September in 2010, Chan felt that the victim had not been looking after her two-year-old son diligently and was angry about it.

She punched Ms Juwarti on the chest before pulling her into the master bedroom, where she pushed her on the forehead, causing the maid's head to hit the wall. She scolded Ms Juwarti and kicked her on the stomach. While the maid was in a crouching position, she stamped on her body.

She then told the maid to turn around and face the wall. She picked up a foldable chair and hit her twice on the back.

The abuse happened in Chan's home in Buangkok Link.

Citing aggravating factors, DPP Chua said that due to the frequent assaults, the victim was living in fear of Chan.

Ms Juwarti had to wake up at 6am daily and was allowed to sleep only at 2am after she had done her chores.

DPP Chua added that Chan did not once seek medical treatment for Ms Juwarti, apologise or show concern over her injuries.

He said it was a case of "too little too late".

The victim, who ran away on New Year's Eve in 2010, had testified in an earlier hearing: "I thought to myself that I must get out from that house, as I could not endure the pain. Otherwise, I would end up dead."

Chan's lawyer Louis Lim said his client was sincerely remorseful. She had been diagnosed by two psychiatrists to have major depressive disorder and had developed post-natal depressive symptoms soon after her son's birth in 2008. Chan recently lost her appeal against her first sentence and started her 21-month jail term on Aug 8. Her three-month jail time will start after she completes her current sentence.

She could have been jailed for up to three years and/or fined up to $7,500.

elena@sph.com.sg