Maid gets eight weeks for roughing up baby

Deputy Public Prosecutor Kelly Ho said Filipina Melody Garcia Narciso's actions were "inherently dangerous".
Deputy Public Prosecutor Kelly Ho said Filipina Melody Garcia Narciso's actions were "inherently dangerous". PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A domestic worker placed a handkerchief over a baby's face and shook the infant's head twice in a rough manner, a court heard.

For ill-treating the child under her care, Filipina Melody Garcia Narciso, 46, was sentenced to eight week's jail on Friday (April 7) after she pleaded guilty to the Oct 19 offence.

A second charge of pushing the child's head in a rough manner and hitting her head earlier that day was taken into consideration in sentencing.

The court heard that the baby's mother decided to check on Narciso and the baby girl via the closed-circuit television camera that was installed in the victim's room that evening.

She saw the maid place a handkerchief over the victim's face and shake her head twice in quick succession in a rough manner.

Narciso had first placed her right hand over the victim's face, shaking the baby's head up and down. She then placed both hands on the baby's head, this time shaking it from left to right.

The victim was strapped to the front of the maid's body in a baby carrier, and Narciso was trying to make the baby sleep.

Narciso's employer waited for her husband to return home before reporting to the police that evening.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Kelly Ho asked the court to impose at least four weeks' jail. She cited two aggravating factors - the victim was very young, vulnerable and defenceless.

And Narciso's actions were "inherently dangerous", although no external injuries were found.

Pleading for leniency, Narciso said she was very remorseful for what she had done.

She said at the time, she had been coughing the whole night and did not have enough sleep.

"I had to wake up early and was trying to put the baby to sleep, and rest early," she added.

District Judge Jasvender Kaur backdated her sentence to her remand on March 10.

Narciso could have been fined up to $4,000 and/or jailed for up to four years.