Maid jailed eight weeks for ill-treating employers' baby

Frustrated that the baby she was entrusted to care for would not fall asleep, a domestic worker placed a handkerchief over the infant's face and shook her head roughly.

The baby was in a carrier strapped to the front of Filipina Melody Garcia Narciso, 46, who was trying to get her to sleep. For ill-treating the child under her care, Narciso was sentenced to eight weeks' jail yesterday. She had pleaded guilty to the offence, committed on Oct 19 last year.

A second charge of pushing and hitting the child's head earlier that day was taken into consideration in sentencing. The court heard that the baby's mother had checked on Narciso that evening through the closed-circuit television camera installed in the baby's room.

She saw the maid place a handkerchief over the victim's face, which she took with her right hand and shook up and down. Narciso then took the baby's head in both hands and shook it from left to right.

Her employer waited for her husband to return home before reporting to the police what she had seen that evening.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Kelly Ho asked the court to impose at least four weeks' jail, citing two aggravating factors - the vulnerability and defencelessness of the victim, and the inherent danger of Narciso's actions, although no external injuries were found.

Pleading for leniency, Narciso said she was very remorseful for her actions. She said she had been coughing the whole night and had not had enough sleep.

She added: "I had to wake up early and was trying to put the baby to sleep, and rest early."

District Judge Jasvender Kaur backdated her sentence to her remand on March 10.

Narciso could have been fined up to $4,000, jailed for up to four years or both.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 08, 2017, with the headline 'Maid jailed eight weeks for ill-treating employers' baby'. Print Edition | Subscribe