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2 years' jail for man caught on CCTV hitting 6-year-old boy

2 years' jail for man caught on CCTV hitting 6-year-old boy
PHOTO: The Straits Times illustration

SINGAPORE - A man continued hitting his girlfriend's son after checking that there were no injuries on the boy's face - only to have his actions captured on close-circuit television (CCTV).

The 32-year-old Singaporean had checked the boy's face because he knew his girlfriend would be angry if she discovered that he had hit her then six-year-old son in their home in August 2018.

Satisfied that there were no visible injuries on the boy, he continued to scold and hit him.

However, his actions were captured on the CCTV camera she had installed in the room.

The man pleaded guilty on Thursday (Feb 6) to one count of ill-treating a child, and was sentenced to two years' jail.

Both the man and the boy cannot be identified due to a gag order.

Court documents stated that the man and the boy's 28-year-old mother were in a romantic relationship and living together at the time of the incident.

At that time, she was going through divorce proceedings, and her children from the marriage - the boy and his then eight-year-old brother - were under her care.

She had also entrusted the care of the boys to her boyfriend.

Sometime in July 2018, she began suspecting that the man had been hurting her children.

After seeing him hit the younger boy's back forcefully while they were out shopping, she did an online search of the man's name and discovered that he had previously been convicted of child abuse.

On Aug 3 that year, she installed a CCTV camera in the living room of their flat.

Days later on Aug 16 at about 10pm, the man went into the children's room. He noticed that the younger boy was still awake while his brother was already asleep.

The man took the boy to the living room, where he struck him on the back of the neck, then swung him around forcefully to face him.

He subsequently stopped and used the flashlight on his mobile phone to check the boy's face for visible injuries.

After finding none, he continued to slap and hit the boy on the head multiple times.

According to court documents, the incident was recorded by the CCTV.

The boy did not react throughout the incident, and returned to his room crying.

When his mother asked him why he was crying, he said the man had asked him to go to sleep.

Feeling that something was amiss, she checked the CCTV footage and downloaded it as five video clips on her mobile phone before making a police report.

In pleading for leniency, the defence lawyer said the man had wanted to discipline the boy, whom he felt had been disobedient and disrespectful.

The mother had also attempted to withdraw her police complaint against the man.

For ill-treating a child, the man could have been sentenced to jail for up to eight years, or fined a maximum of $8,000, or both.

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.

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