Maid's age an issue, says defence counsel

Maid's age an issue, says defence counsel

The age of an Indonesian maid accused of murder came into question in court yesterday with the defence counsel saying it was "an issue".

Defence counsel Mohamed Muzammil Mohamed asked the court if the prosecution would be amending the charges on account of client Dewi Sukowati's "change in age".

The police prosecutor, however, said she was not aware of any amendments but would check with the investigating officer.

The case against Dewi, who is accused of killing socialite Nancy Gan at a Victoria Park bungalow on March 19 - just over a week after her arrival from Indonesia - will be heard again on May 15.

The chargesheet tendered when she first appeared in court on March 20 had indicated that Dewi was 23 years old.

The minimum age for a foreign domestic worker to work in Singapore is 23.

Dewi's lawyer, who was appointed by the Indonesian Embassy here, told the court that the embassy had brought her father to Singapore over the weekend for interviews with the investigating officer.

The father also met psychiatrists who were assessing Dewi during her psychiatric evaluation.

The psychiatric report is expected to be completed next month, and results from DNA testing by the Health Sciences Authority are scheduled to be ready by September, the court heard.

Throughout the exchange in court, Dewi stood unflinching in the barred dock, dressed in a white T-shirt and with her bob of hair tucked behind her ears.

She was led away after having a quick word with her lawyer.

The domestic worker's father, a 49-year-old farmer, was accompanied on his trip here by a manpower official from Indonesia and a Member of Parliament from the family's hometown.

Dewi is the oldest of three daughters in the family - the other two are aged 15 and two.

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