Judge calls maid abuser's actions 'cruel and inhumane'

Judge calls maid abuser's actions 'cruel and inhumane'
Suganthi Jayaraman was sentenced to 15 months’ jail and also ordered to compensate domestic helper Naw Mu Den Paw $4,900.
PHOTO: ST

Her actions were "cruel and inhumane", said the judge.

Particularly so when she used a pestle and a heated ladle to abuse her domestic helper at her Woodlands Drive flat.

Suganthi Jayaraman, 34, had earlier pleaded guilty to three charges of voluntarily causing hurt. The incidents happened in September 2013.

Yesterday, District Judge Christopher Goh sentenced her a total of 15 months' jail, on top of making her pay $4,900 as compensation to her Myanmar national helper, Ms Naw Mu Den Paw, 24, who had been unemployed for 12 months

Judge Goh said her actions were "deliberate, malicious and also showed a profound lack of basic respect for the domestic maid's welfare and dignity".

He added: "In my view, you seem to treat the victim as a chattel rather than a fellow human being."

The court heard that Ms Naw, who was hired in April 2013, was punished for the smallest of infractions.

Unsatisfied with her frying of an Indian snack called vadai, Suganthi hit the back of her helper's head and right eyebrow with a metal pestle on Sept 20, 2013.

On Sept 28, Suganthi, unhappy with the curry Ms Naw helped to cook, used a heated ladle to burn Ms Naw's back and calf.

Two days later, Suganthi punched Ms Naw's left eye when she failed to wake up at 6.30am to take her daughter to school.

Ms Naw was denied medication even when she bled heavily. Instead, Suganthi told her to wear long pants to cover her wounds.

Unable to bear the abuse, Ms Naw ran away on Oct 3.

WAILING

In mitigation last month, Suganthi's lawyer, Mr Louis Joseph, said his client was remorseful and regretted her actions.

Both Suganthi and her mother, who sat at the back of the courtroom, started crying as the sentence was read out.

The elderly woman began wailing and hitting her chest with her hands. She was later escorted out by police.


This article was first published on June 26, 2015.
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