A businessman who hit his maid on the head with a plastic shower head, breaking her finger as she protected herself, was sentenced to eight months' jail yesterday.
After a seven-day trial, Lin Sin Jye, 40, was found guilty of grievously hurting Indonesian Siti Nurbayah, then 24, at his Beauty World Plaza apartment in Upper Bukit Timah Road in August 2012.
The Singapore permanent resident was acquitted of two other maid abuse charges. He is appealing against his conviction and sentence, and is out on $20,000 bail.
Ms Siti had testified that she was assaulted by both Lin and his wife, Malaysian Ngoa Choi Yin, on numerous occasions.
Madam Ngoa, now 49, was given 12 weeks' jail more than a year ago after being found guilty of five maid abuse charges and cleared of three.
Lin's lawyer, Ms Alina Sim, told the court on Tuesday that besides her client, there was no one to take care of his six-year-old autistic son as Madam Ngoa had disappeared.
Ms Siti had testified that some time in the middle of her employment around August 2012, Lin returned home in a rage and dragged her to the toilet. He then tried to hit her with the shower head.
She managed to "protect" her head with her hands, but Lin's attack broke her right index finger.
When she fell back against the wall, he continued to hit her even as she begged him to stop.
Ms Siti escaped from the flat on Oct 27 that year by using a screwdriver to pry open the door ledge.
The court heard that she was not given enough food and lost a considerable amount of weight. She was distressed and had numerous injuries all over her body when she was found crying by a maid agent in the same building.
Lin's defence was one of bare denial. He claimed it was not possible for him to have caused the injuries because he was seldom home during the entire period.
Deputy Public Prosecutors Kumaresan Gohubalan and Jeremy Lua sought a 13-month jail sentence. DPP Kumaresan said Lin had bought an air ticket to send the victim back so that the authorities would not find out about the abuse.
"This attempted 'cover-up' was just so that the injuries will not be noted, and that the incidents go unreported, which shows a general lack of remorse,'' he said.
District Judge Michelle Yap agreed the circumstances of the case were aggravating. Lin could have been jailed for up to 15 years, and liable to a fine or caning for causing grievous hurt to the domestic worker as her employer.