Singapore

Man jailed for molesting his maid

He was also convicted for insulting her modesty

An employer was checking her domestic worker's belongings when she chanced upon a note written by the maid, alleging that the former's husband had sexually abused her in the very house the maid was employed in.

In the note addressed to the couple's eldest son, the maid, then 23, said that she was embarrassed to describe the "very shameful" conduct of Saffie Supa'at, her employer's husband, who had "bothered" her.

But the Indonesian never gave the note to the son as she felt uncomfortable and did not want to "spoil the family", the court heard.

The employer threw away the notebook containing the note. She also asked the maid to pack her belongings the next day, Jan 31, 2016, after a discussion with her husband. The maid left the Hougang flat only the following day.

She met an Indonesian maid she had come to know, and told her that she had been chased out.

That maid took her to see her friend, who accompanied her to make a police report.

The victim, who started work at the household on Dec 14, 2015, initially enjoyed working for the couple.

But soon Saffie started "bothering" her and did "a lot of funny things" to her in less than two weeks.

Convicting Saffie last month of six charges of molestation and insulting the modesty of a woman after a four-day trial, District Judge John Ng accepted the testimony of the victim and rejected the defence's evidence that she was lying to set him up. Saffie was jailed for 14 months and two weeks yesterday.

During the first incident in January last year, the maid was drying plates in the kitchen when Saffie suddenly brushed her buttocks and smiled, before saying "Why?"

Saffie admitted to the act, but said it was accidental as the space in the kitchen was small.

Over the next few days, he insulted her modesty, brushed her buttocks two more times, touched her chest and uttered words to insult her modesty.

Two charges of exposing himself were considered during sentencing.

Pressing for at least 16 months' jail, Deputy Public Prosecutor Kavita Uthrapathy said that Saffie wasted no time in embarking on a campaign of sexual harassment against the victim very soon after she started work. She argued that the sexual assaults on the victim were "sustained, persistent and premeditated".

"And if not for (Saffie's wife) finding the victim's note, it is very likely that the offending would have continued and perhaps even escalated," she said.

Saffie, she added, committed the brazen offences when his wife was at work and lacked remorse.

She said the defence had cast spurious aspersions on the victim by suggesting that she had formed romantic intentions towards Saffie's son, aged 24.

Saffie could have been jailed for up to three years and/or fined for each count of molestation; and jailed for up to 18 months and/or fined for each charge of insulting modesty.

crimecourtDOMESTIC HELPER