SINGAPORE - A maid was jailed for four months on Wednesday (May 3) for punching a sickly elderly woman under her care.
Myanmar national Gracy Law Rice, 24, pleaded guilty in court to one count of causing hurt to Madam Wong Poh Lin, 72, who has Parkinson's disease - a long-term degenerative disorder of the central nervous system - and is unable to speak due to her condition.
Madam Wong's eldest daughter employed Rice to look after her mother who is weak and has difficulty walking. The maid started working in Madam Wong's Whampoa Drive flat on April 8, last year.
Madam Wong lives in the unit with her husband while their children, who live elsewhere, visit them once every two weeks.
Rice's duties included bathing Madam Wong, helping her exercise and ensuring that she took her medication. This was her first job in Singapore.
On July 10 last year, the maid fed Madam Wong porridge for lunch but as the elderly woman was unable to swallow the food, some dribbled out of her mouth.
Frustrated, Rice punched her chest twice with her right fist.
Madam Wong's daughter later spotted bruises on her mother. She informed her brother who alerted the police on July 12 last year.
Madam Wong was taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital later that day and was found to be suffering from injuries including bruises on her chest and left buttock, and cuts on her right shin, right elbow and left cheek.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Ruth Teng said: "According to the accused, she had caused the victim to sustain the injuries on her face, right leg and buttocks accidentally. She could not explain how the victim had sustained the other injuries which the doctors found upon examining the victim."
DPP Teng also told the court that according to Rice, she hit Madam Wong for the first time in the July 10 incident.
The maid claimed that on previous occasions, when the victim had not eaten her food, she had simply shouted at her.
For causing hurt, Rice could have been jailed for up to two years and fined up to $5,000.