Maid jailed 6 months for ill-treating 7-year-old girl

A maid stuffed a chilli padi into the mouth of her employer's seven-year-old daughter when the child refused to learn her spelling.

Hamida, who goes by just one name, also caned the girl's left shoulder and hit her head with a wooden board.

Yesterday, the 33-year-old Indonesian woman, who knew that the girl was afraid of spicy food, was jailed for six months after pleading guilty to one count of ill-treating a child.

The girl cannot be named due to a gag order to protect her identity.

The court heard that Hamida had worked for the child's family for seven years before the incident in July this year.

On July 27, she was looking after the girl and her nine-year-old sister in their Woodlands flat when the younger child wet herself at around 4pm. The girl kept quiet when Hamida asked why her pants were wet.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Wen Shan told District Judge Ng Peng Hong: "When the victim was instructed to 'do her spelling' and refused to do so, the accused then proceeded to the refrigerator to take a piece of chilli padi, measuring 1cm to 2cm in length, and stuffed the entire chilli padi into the mouth of the victim."

The court heard that the girl cried when the maid caned her left shoulder.

Hamida later retrieved a wooden board weighing 1.3kg, and used it to hit the left side of the child's head, causing an abrasion.

The girl's sister told their mother of the incident when the 39-year-old woman came home later that day. The mother alerted the police at around 11pm on the same day after noticing that her younger daughter's head was injured.

The girl was subsequently taken to KK Women's and Children's Hospital, where she was found to have a superficial abrasion on her head.

DPP Tan urged the court to sentence Hamida to six months' jail and added that she had breached the trust placed in her.

For ill-treating the child, she could have been 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 December 11, 2018, with the headline 'Maid jailed 6 months for ill-treating 7-year-old girl'. Print Edition | Subscribe