Maid abuser's appeal fails, judge raises jail term from 14 to 16 months instead

A sales executive who got 14 months' jail for subjecting her maid to abuse almost daily for about three weeks was yesterday unsuccessful in appealing for a lighter sentence.

Instead, High Court judge See Kee Oon increased Ang Lilian's sentence to 16 months' jail.

He said Ang, 45, who asked for a fine or one day in jail, showed a complete lack of remorse.

The judge added that the mother of two, represented by lawyer Foo Cheow Ming, capitalised on her maid's vulnerability.

The prosecution argued that there was no reason for the court to grant Ang's appeal and depart from sentencing precedents.

They noted that the original sentence of 14 months' jail meted out by the State Courts last year was well within the range of sentences given in similar cases.

Ang was found guilty last July on 11 charges of abusing Ms Moe Myint Aye, now 28, after an 11-day trial.

However, she was cleared of one count of using criminal force on the Myanmar national, who began working for Ang's Marine Terrace household in January 2013.

Apart from the jail term, Ang was also ordered to pay $3,150 in compensation.

The maid, who now works for another employer, was assaulted almost daily between mid-April 2013 and May 1 that year.

Ang hit her with her fist and objects such as a dustpan, a shower head and a cane. The attacks were targeted mainly at the maid's head and face.

Ang also pulled the victim's hair, threw her to the ground and slapped her face repeatedly.

The maid testified during trial that her life was "very bad'' and that Ang would attack her for any slight mistake.

Ang's crimes came to light on May 7, 2013 after a public-spirited neighbour noticed the maid's injuries and alerted the police.

The repeated blows resulted in severe bruising around the eyes.

Deputy Public Prosecutors Ruth Teng and James Chew, who sought a jail term in the range of 14 to 16 months in the State Courts, earlier argued that the serious injuries were a significant aggravating factor.

"This is not a case of a light smack or a quick shove. This is a case where the victim was systematically brutalised by Ang," the prosecutors said in their submissions to the court.

District Judge Shaiffudin Saruwan, who presided over Ang's trial, found her conduct particularly egregious.

The abuses were prolonged and showed a pattern of escalating severity, he noted.

He also rejected the defence's argument that the victim had fabricated all the incidents of abuse to engineer the premature termination of her employment contract.

Ang could have been jailed for up to three years and also fined up to $7,500 for each charge of maid abuse.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 23, 2017, with the headline 'Maid abuser's appeal fails, judge raises jail term from 14 to 16 months instead'. Print Edition | Subscribe