SINGAPORE - A housewife kicked her domestic worker so badly that the maid decided to escape by climbing out of her employer's 36th floor flat instead.
Tay Li Nah, 39, was sentenced to four weeks' jail on Tuesday after she pleaded guilty to causing hurt to Indonesian maid Saedatun Fandilah, 26, at her home in Teban Gardens Road on Feb 5 last year.
District Judge V. Jesudevan gave Tay a long lecture, calling her conduct deplorable and said even slaves were treated with some element of respect because "as human beings, we must extend respect to other human beings''. He noted that the maid's injuries were not trivial. If there was any misstep during her escape, the maid would have fallen to her death, he said.
At an earlier hearing in May, the court heard that Tay scolded Ms Saedatun for mopping the floor without sweeping it first at about 12.30am on Feb 5 last year.
She then told the maid to face the wall. She kicked her buttocks repeatedly. Tay commanded the victim to turn around and face her. She then kicked her repeatedly on her abdomen and upper thighs.
About four hours later, Ms Saedatun could not bear the abuse anymore and decided to escape. As she did not have the flat's keys, she decided to climb out of the 36th-floor flat's bathroom window.
She removed the louvres of the window and climbed out of it, making her way to the 34th floor. An occupant saw her from the kitchen window and heard her appeals for help. After helping her into the flat, the occupant called for the ambulance.
While waiting for the ambulance, the victim was crying and told the occupant that she had been beaten by her employer.
Tay's lawyer Louis Joseph said the mother of one had made voluntary compensation of $3,000 to the maid. He said Tay suffers from mental conditions including obsessive compulsive disorder and explosive personality disorder.
Tay had been diagnosed with depression in 2012 and was given medication. But she stopped her follow-up sessions at Raffles Hospital and the medication as she felt she was not mentally unsound.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Yvonne Poon had asked for a four-week jail sentence. She said Tay had consciously and intentionally targeted the victim as she was the most vulnerable and dependent in the house. Tay could have been jailed for up to three years and/or fined up to $7,500 for causing hurt.