Man sentenced to six months' jail for ill-treating seven-year-old stepson

A man was jailed for six months for pinching and slapping his stepson.
A man was jailed for six months for pinching and slapping his stepson.PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

SINGAPORE - A man who pinched and slapped his seven-year-old stepson for playing instead of sleeping was jailed for six months on Monday (Jan 18).

The 36-year-old bird net installer admitted to ill-treating the child under his care by pinching him multiple times on his inner thighs and slapping him on Aug 5, 2014.

A second charge of slapping his four-year-old stepdaughter in February the same year was taken into consideration.

Neither the accused nor the children can be named because of a gag order.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Rachel Lee Pei Rong told the court that the man had gone to his bedroom to get a towel that evening when he noticed the night lamp was switched on.

He also noticed that his stepson had covered his face with a pillow, and was fidgeting under it.

The accused switched on the main light in the bedroom . When he saw that the boy was playing with a headband with lights instead of sleeping, he was unhappy.

He decided to ask some mathematics questions. His wife heard him raise his voice at the child and entered the room. She saw that the boy was crying and unable to answer the mathematics question.

When the boy could not answer the questions, the stepfather pinched him on his left and right sides of his inner thighs. For each question that the boy was unable to answer, he would pinch him on the inner thighs. He did this multiple times.

He then slapped the boy two to three times across the face.

His wife intervened. A quarrel that broke out and he slapped her, too, before leaving the room.

She then checked on the boy's injuries and saw bruising on both of his inner thighs. She calmed him down and let him sleep.

The next morning, while the boy was in school, a teacher noticed that he had difficulty walking, and also saw extensive bruising on his inner thighs.

He was taken to National University Hospital where he was found to have bruising and a scratch on his head and two large areas of bruising on his inner thighs.

His stepfather's lawyer James Joseph said in mitigation that his client went overboard in trying to discipline the child and was remorseful for what had happened.

The stepfather could have been fined up to $4,000 and jailed for up four years for ill-treating a child.