SINGAPORE - A nine-year-old boy was put in the care of his aunt after his parents were sent to prison. But he ended up a victim of abuse that saw him hit with a series of household items, burned and even dangled out of a third-floor window.
His 39-year-old aunt was sentenced to jail for 10 months on Monday (Jan 22).
She had hit the boy's head twice with an extendable pole hanger, hit his elbow and leg with a pestle, burn his arms four times with the heated end of a modified gas lighter and hit his head once with a back scratcher.
A second charge of criminal intimidation by dangling him outside the kitchen window was taken into consideration during sentencing. The accused cannot be named to protect the identity of the boy.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Sarah Shi said that on Feb 3 last year, the boy saw his aunt inhaling fumes after using a lighter to burn a white substance.
Afraid of being hit, he ran away. But she found him and took him back to the flat.
At around 1am, after the boy was made to squat on the floor, his aunt threatened to throw him out of the kitchen window.
The DPP said the woman picked the boy up by the legs and dangled him out of the window, where he held on to a bamboo pole for fear that she would let go of him.
She then hit him and burned him with the lighter.
The Child Protection Service was notified after a teacher noticed the boy's injuries.
He was treated for multiple injuries, including bruises.
The DPP asked for 12 months' jail.
The accused's lawyer Wayne Ong said his client, who has five children and two stepchildren, took in the victim despite her own financial circumstances. He said she has been in drug rehabilitation since Feb 9 and is due to be released in the middle of next month.
District Judge Lim Keng Yeow said: "Acts of abuse against vulnerable children, especially when carried out by someone responsible for safeguarding their well-being, will always be regarded as particularly reprehensible and deserving of the full force of the law."
The accused's sentence was backdated to Sept 22.
The accused could have been fined up to $4,000 and/or jailed for up to four years for ill-treating the child under her care.
The boy is now in an orphanage.