Woman accused of hitting maid with hammer and pestle

Indonesian maid Khanifah showing her broken two front teeth.
Indonesian maid Khanifah showing her broken two front teeth. PHOTO: INDONESIAN EMBASSY SINGAPORE

In charge sheets that read like a horror tale, a woman has been accused of repeatedly hitting her Indonesian maid with a hammer, striking out at her with a pestle, hurling a knife at her, mauling her finger and disfiguring her with a bamboo pole.

Zariah Mohd Ali, a 53-year-old mother of two, faces a total of 30 charges over incidents that allegedly took place at her Woodlands flat in a matter of months, between June and December 2012.

Her husband, 55-year-old security guard Mohamad Dahlan, faces one charge of hitting the maid on the head with a frying pan cover.

The charges against Zariah are more detailed and numerous.

She is accused of hitting her 34-year-old helper, Ms Khanifah, with a hammer five times on the head, twice on the mouth - leaving her with broken teeth - and once on the knee.

She also allegedly used a pestle to hit Ms Khanifah six times and stabbed her in the shoulder five times. Twice, she is accused of using a bamboo pole to strike at her helper's left ear. The second strike is said to have partly led to Ms Khanifah's ear lobe being permanently disfigured.

Among the 28 Penal Code charges that Zariah faces, five involve causing grievous hurt. She also faces two charges of failing to provide Ms Khanifah with adequate food and rest.

One of the charges says that Zariah forcefully pushed back Ms Khanifah's little finger on her left hand, resulting in "permanent impairment of the powers of the joint".

Zariah is said to have acted rashly by throwing a knife at Ms Khanifah.

On another occasion, she is accused of hurling a small knife that inflicted a cut on the victim's abdomen.

Zariah also allegedly splashed detergent on Ms Khanifah's eyes.

The catalogue of complaints does not end there. According to the charges, Zariah stabbed Ms Khanifah in her shoulders, hit her forehead and nose with a pestle and slashed and cut her across her arm and knee.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Sharmila Sripathy-Shanaz told the court that the prosecution is ready to proceed with the case. It has offered to proceed on 10 charges against Zariah, with the rest being taken into consideration. It wants to proceed with one charge against the husband.

The couple's lawyer, Mr Louis Joseph, sought a four-week adjournment yesterday to take instructions and make representations. Zariah is out on $15,000 bail. District Judge Soh Tze Bian fixed the case for a pre-trial conference on Sept 29.

If convicted of the most serious charge of causing grievous hurt, Zariah could be jailed for up to 15 years and fined on each charge. For failing to provide adequate food and rest, the maximum penalty is a $5,000 fine and six months in jail.

When contacted, Mr Louis said his client has been physically incapacitated by a stroke and could not have inflicted the injuries.