Jail for mum whose son was abused by her boyfriend

A mother was jailed for 10 months yesterday for failing to protect her year-old son from being abused by her boyfriend.

The boy, now three and under foster care, suffered a skull fracture after being pushed off a bed by her boyfriend, Franklie Tan Guang Wei, in March 25 last year.

The mother, a 25-year-old part-time sales assistant, admitted to two counts of ill-treating her son by allowing him to stay with Tan when she knew that he had previously abused the boy and that he was not allowed unsupervised contact. The mother cannot be named to protect the identity of the child.

District Judge Adam Nakhoda said parents have a duty to ensure they provide for and protect their children. "Sadly in this case there has been, in my opinion, an utter abrogation of that duty by the accused, who is the victim's mother. This withdrawal from her duty had dire consequences for the victim.

"A message has to be sent out that the courts will not condone violence or abuse against the most vulnerable in our society, and this would apply equally to those who, through their neglect, have made possible the abuse," he said.

He found that the accused had appeared to have prioritised her relationship with Tan over the well-being of her son.

Tan, 26, was sentenced to 61/2 years in jail and given six strokes of the cane in September over the case. He is appealing against the sentence.

The judge said Tan was an obvious danger to the boy and despite knowing this, the accused failed to take necessary steps to protect her son. He found there had clearly been a breach of the fundamental trust that exists between a parent and child.

The accused, he said, repeatedly turned a blind eye to the fact that Tan had abused and was capable of abusing the boy. This was an aggravating factor.

She knew that Tan had a habit of using violence against the boy, the judge noted. Tan had used force against him on no fewer than four occasions before he pushed the child onto the floor. Whenever the boy cried, Tan would take out his frustrations by physically abusing him.

The maximum penalty for the offence is a $4,000 fine and four years in jail on each charge.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 19, 2016, with the headline 'Jail for mum whose son was abused by her boyfriend'. Print Edition | Subscribe