Man gets 8 months' jail for ill-treating stepdaughter

A nine-year-old girl was sleeping on the sofa when her stepfather woke her up by pressing a lit cigarette against her right hand.

Two days later, he kicked her face for no apparent reason.

The 29-year-old jobless man, who cannot be named because of a gag order to protect his stepdaughter's identity, was jailed for eight months yesterday after pleading guilty to one count of ill-treating a child.

A second charge for a similar offence involving the same girl was considered during sentencing.

The girl is now living with relatives of her biological father.

The first incident happened after the girl fell asleep while watching television with her stepfather in a Holland Close flat on Nov 4, 2017.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Sheryl Yeo said: "So as to wake the victim up, the accused used his lit cigarette and pressed it hard against the victim's right hand, near the area of her wrist.

"He intended to wake her up by burning her. On previous occasions, the accused had also woken the victim up in a similar manner."

Two days later, the girl was sweeping the floor when the man walked over and kicked her. She was hit in her left eye.

He then "nonchalantly" walked off to watch television, said the DPP.

The girl did not go to school that day as she was in pain.

She returned to classes on Nov 7, 2017, and her teacher noticed a bruise on her face.

The school alerted the Child Protective Service and the girl was taken to KK Women's and Children's Hospital the following day for a check-up.

A medical report dated Dec 28 that year stated that she had injuries including a burn on her right wrist and a bruise around her left eye.

DPP Yeo urged District Judge Kessler Soh to sentence the stepfather to at least eight months in jail, stressing that he had hurt the girl "out of cruelty".

The man, who was unrepresented, pleaded for leniency.

For ill-treating the child, he 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 January 08, 2019, with the headline 'Man gets 8 months' jail for ill-treating stepdaughter'. Print Edition | Subscribe