Man admits punching sister's maid and his brother-in-law

At one point, the man punched the domestic helper's head so hard it jerked backwards and hit a cupboard's glass panel, breaking it.
At one point, the man punched the domestic helper's head so hard it jerked backwards and hit a cupboard's glass panel, breaking it.PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A man pummelled his sister's domestic helper after their mother accused the Filipina of being "disrespectful" by lying with her feet close to the older woman's head.

At one point, Benjamin Putra Chumali punched Ms Fabre Jeizel Cabelte's head so hard it jerked backwards and hit a cupboard's glass panel, breaking it.

Benjamin later assaulted his brother-in-law, who returned home to the Jurong West flat later that evening but did not shake Benjamin's hand. Benjamin was unhappy and accused Mr Muhammad Irfan Zakariah, 31, of being rude.

Benjamin, 33, pleaded guilty in court on Friday (Oct 11) to two counts of assault.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Sarah Ong said Benjamin's sister, Madam Dewi Kartini Putri Chumali, 31, had employed Ms Cabelte, 32, who started working in the flat in April last year.

The maid had to do household chores and also take care of the siblings' mother, Madam Muriah Arshad, 63.

Around 7.30pm on Nov 21 last year, Ms Cabelte was lying in the living room with her feet close to Madam Muriah's head, the court heard.

The DPP said: "Muriah was displeased about this and complained to the accused, who was in his room, that Jeizel was disrespectful to her.

"At that time, the accused was playing a game on his handphone and lost the game. The accused became very angry and, together with Muriah, went to the living room to confront Jeizel."

Benjamin started punching and kicking Ms Cabelte, causing his mother to intervene by shielding the maid with her body.

Madam Muriah managed to stop her son and Ms Cabelte then locked herself inside a room in the flat.

 
 
 

Madam Muriah called Madam Dewi to tell her about the incident, and Madam Dewi went home with her husband around 8pm.

DPP Ong told District Judge Ng Cheng Thiam that Benjamin accused Mr Irfan of being rude and not shaking his hand. He then punched Mr Irfan near his lips twice, and also head-butted him, causing him bodily pain and his lips to bleed.

Madam Dewi alerted the police and officers arrived soon after to arrest Benjamin.

Ms Cabelte went to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital the next day and was found with injuries including a bruised forehead. She is no longer living at the flat.

Mr Irfan did not seek medical treatment.

Benjamin will be sentenced on Nov 14 and is now out on bail of $5,000.

For assaulting the maid, he can jailed for up to three years and fined up to $7,500. For assaulting Mr Irfan, he can be jailed for up to two years and fined up to $5,000.