Lawyer jailed over physically abusing ex-girlfriend

Lydiawaty, who has a master's degree in constitutional law and human rights, forced her ex-girlfriend to strip and cut her with a knife.
Lydiawaty, who has a master's degree in constitutional law and human rights, forced her ex-girlfriend to strip and cut her with a knife.

A woman physically abused a 19-year-old former girlfriend, forcing her to strip and threatening her to either live in her apartment or leave in a "body bag''.

Lydiawaty Abdul Rahman also cut the victim's forearm with a knife in her third-floor apartment in Jalan Novena Barat on Feb 10, 2014.

On Jan 6 this year, after a 12-day trial, the 32-year-old corporate lawyer, who has a master's degree in constitutional law and human rights and is an entrepreneur as well, was found guilty of five charges.

She was sentenced yesterday to six months and three weeks in jail and fined $1,000, but is out on bail pending her appeal.

Lydiawaty and her victim became acquainted through Craigslist some time in May 2012 and started a relationship which the teenager eventually wanted to end, citing Lydiawaty's abusiveness.

The victim testified that she had gone to Lydiawaty's apartment that night as the older woman had claimed to be in distress.

But Lydiawaty locked the gate after she arrived. A heated argument followed, during which she was punched, forcibly dragged into the bedroom and made to remove her clothes, which Lydiawaty then cut up with a pair of scissors. She also threatened the victim with an ornamental knife.

The victim made her way to the gap between the bed and the window and eventually forced Lydiawaty out of the room by pushing her out with the mattress. It was as she was trying to close the door that she was cut on the arm.

Naked, she climbed out of the window and managed to jump down to the second floor to seek refuge at a neighbour's home.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Sruthi Boppana had sought at least eight months' jail to be imposed to reflect Lydiawaty's criminality and the extent of harm and distress the victim experienced from her actions.

Lydiawaty's lawyer, Mr Shashi Nathan, had urged for a sentence of less than one month for causing hurt by knife and fines for the other charges.

Elena Chong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 27, 2017, with the headline 'Lawyer jailed over physically abusing ex-girlfriend'. Print Edition | Subscribe