Jail, fine for harassing and hurting wife, stepdaughter

Enraged after finding out that his wife had thrown away a cupboard, a man tried to choke the woman and punched his eight-year-old stepdaughter when she started crying.

The 35-year-old man, who cannot be named due to a gag order to protect his victims' identities, was sentenced yesterday to 15 weeks' jail and a fine of $2,000. He pleaded guilty to one count each of assault, harassment and ill-treating a child.

The man was in a foul mood when he returned to his flat near Chinatown at around 7pm on March 8, 2017. His wife, baby son and stepdaughter were home at that time.

He noticed his cupboard was missing when he entered the flat. He asked his wife, 30, where it was and became angry when she said she had thrown it away as it was broken.

He scolded her and told her to get it back. She replied that she could not retrieve it as she had thrown it into a bin. He then told her he would "break her face", before dragging her by her hair to a corner of the flat.

After that, he choked her until she had difficulty breathing and punched her face twice.

His terrified stepdaughter burst into tears but her cries only irritated him.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Joshua Rene Jeyaraj said: "The accused then approached her and punched her on the left eye. He yelled at the second victim and told her to shut up. He then tried to throw another punch at the second victim but was pushed away by the first victim before he could do so."

The man redirected his attention to his wife and punched her lower back. She told the girl to hide behind her and managed to calm her husband down.

He then gave his victims 30 minutes to get the cupboard back.

His wife then sent a text message to the police to ask for assistance.

The court heard that he initially refused to allow officers to enter the flat when they arrived at the scene and relented only after "much persuasion", said the DPP.

He was arrested and his two victims sought medical attention.

The woman was found to suffer mild tenderness in her nose area and right cheek while the girl had a bruise over her left eye.

The woman later obtained a personal protection order against her husband and it was issued on April 10, 2017.

But on Jan 4 last year at around 8pm, she received a call from him, accusing her of being a sex worker.

He continued calling her after she hung up.

By 9pm that day, she had received 88 missed calls and answered another eight, the court heard.

The couple have since divorced.

Shaffiq Alkhatib

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 29, 2019, with the headline 'Jail, fine for harassing and hurting wife, stepdaughter'. Print Edition | Subscribe