Maid gets two weeks' jail for fracture on baby's elbow

A maid was sentenced to two weeks' jail after she caused a fracture on the right elbow of her employer's seven-month-old daughter.
A maid was sentenced to two weeks' jail after she caused a fracture on the right elbow of her employer's seven-month-old daughter.PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

A maid was sentenced to two weeks' jail after she caused a fracture on the right elbow of her employer's seven-month-old daughter in February by yanking on the baby's arm.

Valencia Gemalyn Garma, 24, a Filipina, had been employed to do general house cleaning and look after her employer's two children.

The court heard that on Feb 21, at about 1.30am, Garma, who had been working for the family for seven months, had settled down to sleep with the baby when the child began crying.

She said she had not managed to fall asleep and was agitated and tired after having had to care for her employer's older child, who is two years old. She picked up the baby in an attempt to pacify her, carrying her on her right arm.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Fong Jin Heng submitted that Garma's failure to inform her employer of the possible injury significantly delayed the baby's mother from seeking necessary medical attention.

Later, she transferred the baby to her chest by forcefully pulling at the baby's right arm. When the baby continued crying for 10 minutes, Garma suspected that she had hurt the baby, but she did not inform her employer out of fear.

The employer was awakened by the baby's cries and took over, telling Garma to go to sleep.

But when her daughter continued to cry for half an hour before falling asleep, and woke up crying again at 3am, she became concerned that the baby might be in pain. Examinations by doctors at Thomson Medical Centre and KK Women's and Children's Hospital revealed that the child had suffered a fracture to her right elbow.

When questioned by her employer, Garma initially denied any involvement but later admitted to hurting the child.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Fong Jin Heng submitted that Garma's failure to inform her employer of the possible injury significantly delayed the baby's mother from seeking necessary medical attention.

District Judge Toh Yung Cheong took into account the fact that Garma had not had prior experience in caring for children and her tired state at the time of the negligent act, and ordered a sentence of two weeks' jail.

For causing grievous hurt by a negligent act, Garma could have been jailed up to six months and fined up to $2,500.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 01, 2015, with the headline 'Maid gets two weeks' jail for fracture on baby's elbow'. Print Edition | Subscribe