4 years' jail for woman who poured hot water on boyfriend's groin, causing third-degree burns

SINGAPORE - A woman who poured hot water on her boyfriend's groin, thinking he was cheating on her, was sentenced on Thursday (Nov 26) to four years' jail.

Zareena Begum P. A. M. Basheer Ahamed, 50, was found guilty by District Judge Brenda Tan of voluntarily causing grievous hurt after a trial which ended on Sept 28.

The man was hospitalised for 26 days and unable to work for about six months as a result of the incident, which occurred while he was asleep.

He suffered second- and third-degree burn injuries over 12 per cent of his body.

In submissions at the end of the trial, Deputy Public Prosecutor Ng Jun Chong said the two became a couple in 2006 but over the course of their relationship, broke up several times while accusing each other of cheating.

On Jan 12, 2017, Zareena saw her boyfriend at the HarbourFront Centre ferry terminal with a woman, someone Zareena suspected had been having an affair with her boyfriend since 2015.

In the wee hours of July 5 that year, Zareena took her boyfriend's mobile phone from his bag as he slept in her living room.

The DPP said she grew furious when she saw messages from the other woman to her boyfriend.

"She wanted to teach him a lesson for letting her down over and over again. She wanted to teach him a lesson that he would never forget," said DPP Ng.

Zareena boiled water before pouring a mugful on her boyfriend's pants, over the groin area.

The man shot up in extreme pain and asked Zareena why she did this to him, to which she replied "serve you right".

Zareena, who was represented by defence lawyers S. S. Dhillon and Suppiah Krishnamurthi, had argued that the entire incident was an accident.

She claimed she woke her boyfriend up and asked to check his phone, but this lead to an argument.

As she left for the kitchen, where she had been boiling water for a drink, he followed her.

Zareena claimed in court that while holding a mug of hot water, the man pulled on her left arm, causing the contents to spill onto his groin area.

Dr Chew Khong Yik, who attended to the victim, testified that the burn injuries suggested that he was lying down when the hot water was poured on him.

He described sudden splash injuries on his upper torso, and none on his knees, calves, feet and toes, which would have been expected if he was sitting upright.

On Thursday, Mr Dhillon told the court that Zareena intends to appeal against her conviction and sentence. Her bail has been set at $30,000.

An offender convicted of voluntarily causing grievous hurt with a heated substance can be jailed for life or jailed up to 15 years with a fine or caning. Zareena cannot be caned, as she is a woman.

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