A paralegal was so angry that her Indonesian domestic helper gave her mother pills that had spilled onto the floor that she repeatedly struck her with a wooden scratcher, causing injuries, including two fractured fingers.
Ng Bee Choo, 48, admitted causing grievous hurt to Ms Weti Alimi Carmadi and was jailed for 10 months yesterday.
Ms Weti, 33, started working at Ng's Circuit Road flat in October 2016 and her duties included taking care of her employer's aged mother, a wheelchair-user who has heart problems. The court heard that Ng started abusing her maid physically and verbally the following year.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Houston Johannus told District Judge Chay Yuen Fatt that Ms Weti did not seek help or tell anyone about her ordeal as she was frightened.
In late January last year, Ng was waiting for Ms Weti to give her mother her daily medication at around 7.30am when she noticed that the maid had dropped a bottle of pills onto the floor, and its contents spilled out.
Ms Weti then picked up the pills and fed them to the elderly woman.
The DPP said: "The accused was furious with the victim as she perceived that the victim had fed her mother with dirtied pills, and (she) used a wooden scratcher to strike the victim's head once.
"The victim felt pain (from) the impact of the wooden scratcher hitting her head. The accused then continued to hit the victim's head repeatedly and the victim used both her hands to cover her head... As a result, both the victim's hands were also hit by the wooden scratcher."
Soon after, Ng left for work and Ms Weti continued with her chores even though she was in pain.
On Jan 28 last year, a neighbour heard a woman in Ng's flat moaning in pain and suspected Ms Weti was a victim of abuse.
The neighbour alerted the police but no one answered the door when officers arrived later that day. The officers returned three days later and saw that the maid was injured and had bloodshot eyes.
Ms Weti was taken to Changi General Hospital, where it was diagnosed that she had injuries, including two fractured fingers on her left hand and bruises over her eyes. She was given medical leave until Feb 2 last year. Court documents did not state where she is now.
Yesterday, DPP Johannus told the court that Ng had given the maid $12,800 as compensation.
He urged Judge Chay to sentence her to at least 10 months' jail and stressed that maids "constitute a vulnerable class of persons that the courts endeavour to protect".
For causing grievous hurt to the maid, Ng could have been jailed for up to 15 years and fined.