Singapore

Maid who ill-treated boy gets sentence doubled

A maid who ill-treated the four-year-old son of her employers when she tried to retrieve a medical device from the boy's throat had her sentenced doubled from four months to eight yesterday, following an appeal by prosecutors.

Indonesian Kusrini Caslan Arja, 37, who was released last month, will go back to prison to serve a second stint.

In doubling her jail term, Judge of Appeal Tay Yong Kwang said her "real blameworthiness" lay in her not telling anyone about the incident, leaving a 4cm by 2 cm object stuck in the boy's throat for hours.

The judge stressed that she was not being punished for being ignorant or unskilled.

"She is being punished for her cold disregard of the child's safety and suffering, which must have been evident to any ordinary adult in the situation that day."

However, he did not agree with the 18-month jail term sought by prosecutors.

The boy, who cannot be named because of a court order, has Type 1 spinal muscular atrophy and is bedridden.

He also needs support ventilation and oxygen.

After his parents hired Kusrini in March last year, they trained her to remove his phlegm and mucus using a machine that has a suction cap about the size of an adult's thumb attached to a tube.

She was told to place the suction cap outside his nose and lips. But on Nov 23 last year, she placed it inside the boy's mouth.

It became lodged in his throat when it got detached from the tube.

She put her hand into his mouth and tried unsuccessfully to remove the cap, persisting for eight minutes even when her hand was covered in his blood.

But instead of alerting his parents, Kusrini kept quiet.

The suction cap remained in his throat for the next 12 hours until they returned and noticed blood in the pump container of the suction machine.

She pleaded guilty last month and was sentenced to four months' jail by a district judge, who said she did not intend any malice and was not medically trained. She was released as her sentence had been backdated to the day she was remanded.

Yesterday, Justice Tay said her act of inserting the suction cap into the boy's mouth was foolhardy.

But her folly and ignorance became conduct that was "uncaring" and "even unthinkable" in her quest to pull out the suction cap.

DOMESTIC HELPERcourtparenting