Dad hit, kicked son over homework

9-year-old thrashed with hanger had bruises all over body; man admits ill-treating child

Angry with his nine-year-old son for making mistakes in his homework, a man thrashed the boy with a hanger before kicking him, causing bruises all over his body.

The father, 35, who cannot be named due to a gag order to protect the boy's identity, pleaded guilty in court yesterday to one count of ill-treating a child.

The man was in a Tampines flat with the boy on Aug 4 last year after his wife left at around 9pm to meet friends for dinner. While the man watched television in the living room, the child did his homework at a nearby dining table.

The boy had some difficulties later and asked for his father's help. The man told his son to think of the answers on his own.

When the boy gave several wrong answers, the father got angry and went to a bedroom to get a plastic hanger. The boy begged for leniency but his father yanked him off his chair, causing him to fall.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Grace Chua said: "The accused then grabbed the victim's left leg and held him up in an inverted position. The accused hit the victim with the hanger multiple times on his buttocks and legs. With each hit, the accused raised his arm and the hanger up before swinging it down with his full strength on the victim."

NO HOLDING BACK

With each hit, the accused raised his arm and the hanger up before swinging it down with his full strength on the victim.

DEPUTY PUBLIC PROSECUTOR GRACE CHUA

This incident was captured by a closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera in the room. In the video, which was shown in court, the boy was heard screaming in pain.

The man stopped hitting the boy and started yelling at him. The boy, lying on the floor in a daze, then said that he "really did not know" the answers. When the man heard this, he kicked his son twice.

DPP Chua told the court: "With each kick, the accused pulled his leg back fully before delivering a forceful kick to the victim. Thereafter, the accused threw the hanger forcefully at the victim twice and kicked the victim once more before chasing the victim into the bedroom, where he hit the victim's buttocks with his hand multiple times."

A neighbour alerted the police after hearing the boy's cries. The boy told his mother what happened when she came home at around 1.15am the next day.

She retrieved the CCTV footage and took the boy to KK Women's and Children's Hospital, where he was found with multiple bruises - the biggest one measuring 12cm by 10cm on his buttocks. He was discharged on Aug 8.

The court heard that the man and his wife are undergoing divorce proceedings. The man's lawyer, Mr T.U. Naidu, said his client and the boy have been attending counselling sessions after the incident.

District Judge Eddy Tham called for the boy's counselling report. The man is due to be sentenced on July 12. Those convicted of ill-treating a child can be jailed for up to four years and fined up to $4,000.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 15, 2018, with the headline 'Dad hit, kicked son over homework'. Print Edition | Subscribe