A 32-year-old Indonesian maid repeatedly abused a 14-month-old toddler in a Punggol flat for nearly two months - all because she could not get him to fall asleep, a district court heard yesterday.
On various occasions, she pulled the baby up by his arm, held him upside down by his ankles, slapped him and even pushed his head.
But her acts were caught on a closed-circuit television camera, and footage of the abuses was later viewed by the baby's parents.
Yesterday, the maid, Tursinah Sari, was jailed for 12 weeks after she pleaded guilty to six out of 15 charges under the Children and Young Persons Act for ill-treating the child. The remaining charges were taken into consideration in sentencing.
Tursinah had worked for the baby's parents for about three months before she began to abuse him between Christmas Day last year and Feb 4 this year.
SURPRISING FOR A MOTHER
You must have understood the anguish of the parents when they discovered the abuse. The child is too young to express distress, protect himself and seek help. ''
DISTRICT JUDGE LUKE TAN, when passing sentence on Tursinah Sari.
On one occasion, on Dec 27, she pulled the baby out of his cot by one of his wrists.
On Jan 10, she held him upside down by his ankles for about eight seconds. Shortly after, she slapped his face and pushed his head.
She also dropped the toddler on a sofa, and then pressed on his ribs with both her hands on Jan 27.
Four days later, she held the infant upside down by his legs before dropping him into his cot. Shortly after, she pulled him out of the cot by grabbing the front of his T-shirt.
And on Feb 4, Tursinah pulled the baby from the cot by grabbing one of his hands. Shortly after, she jerked him up and down several times while carrying him.
She later pulled him up from the cot and into the air by grabbing the front of his T-shirt.
The toddler's parents found out about the abuses the next day when they viewed the footage of their closed-circuit television camera.
The father made a police report the next day. The baby was taken to hospital, but no external injuries were found on him.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Dora Tay called for two to four weeks' jail per charge, with four of the sentences to run consecutively. She asked for a total of 12 weeks' jail.
Tursinah submitted two mitigation letters to the court which stated, among other things, that she was owed five months' salary.
In passing sentence, District Judge Luke Tan said he found it "surprising" that Tursinah was herself a mother.
"You must have understood the anguish of the parents when they discovered the abuse," the judge said. "The child is too young to express distress, protect himself and seek help."
The judge told Tursinah she would have to seek separate recourse on her salary claims.
She could have been fined $4,000 and jailed for four years per charge.