SINGAPORE - A man told his 11-year-old daughter to consume sleeping pills after he had a dispute with his estranged wife in April 2018.
A district court heard that he wanted to show the woman that their marital disputes had caused the girl to feel stressed. He also wanted his wife to feel that she was at fault for not taking proper care of their child.
The girl complied and ended up losing consciousness. She was warded in KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH) for more than a month.
The man later told the girl to lie to the police and tell an investigating officer that she had voluntarily consumed the pills as she wanted to kill herself.
Again, the girl complied. But four months later, she told the truth to a social worker.
The 40-year-old Singaporean man, who cannot be named owing to a gag order to protect his daughter's identity, pleaded guilty in court on Wednesday (Nov 11) to one count each of ill-treating a child and intentionally perverting the course of justice.
He also admitted to an unrelated harassment charge.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Joshua Phang said that the man lived with his daughter in a Toa Payoh flat. His wife lived in another flat in Woodlands.
On April 7, 2018, the girl sent her mother a text message as she was feeling unwell and asked the woman to pick her up from Toa Payoh so that they could visit a doctor together.
The woman replied and told the girl to take a taxi to Woodlands as she did not want to meet the man.
The girl then decided to stay home with her younger brother and paternal grandmother. The man phoned his wife that evening and they quarrelled.
The girl was in the living room at around midnight when her father told her to retrieve a bottle of her grandmother's sleeping pills. The court heard that they contained amitriptyline - a poison.
He then told her to consume some of the medication. Feeling overwhelmed, the girl swallowed about six pills. Her father later told her to consume more pills and again, she complied.
When the girl lost consciousness, the man took her in a taxi to his wife's flat and called for an ambulance when they were on their way there.
He laid the girl outside his wife's home and knocked on the door at around 3.45am on April 8, 2018.
When his wife opened the door, he told the woman that she would be "answerable if anything happened to the victim".
An ambulance arrived soon after and rushed the girl to KKH.
The man later visited his daughter in hospital and told her to lie to the police about the situation.
As instructed, the girl lied to Sergeant Dickson Lek on April 18, 2018, claiming that she had wanted to take her own life.
The DPP said: "In her statement, the victim told Sgt Lek that she had consumed the pills voluntarily because she felt that no one in her family cared for her and that she had intended to kill herself.
"She further stated that she was apologetic for her actions and for troubling so many people."
On June 16, 2018, the police told her by post that no further action would be taken against her. The man's offences finally came to light in August 2018 when his daughter revealed the truth to a social worker.
In an unrelated incident, the man was at Changi Beach Park on Jan 2 last year when a police officer asked for his NRIC. The man then verbally abused the officer and his colleague with vulgar language. He was later charged with harassment.
The man is represented by lawyer Christopher Bridges and his bail was set at $15,000 on Wednesday. He will be sentenced on Dec 9.
For intentionally perverting the course of justice, an offender can be jailed for up to seven years and fined.