Singapore

Caregiver's bid to lift protection orders rejected by court

This article is more than 12 months old

The sole caregiver of her dementia-ridden mother and her mentally retarded sister had personal protection orders (PPOs) obtained against her in 2012.

The woman asked the courts to lift the five-year-old protection orders, but her bid has been rejected.

District Judge Azmin Jailani instead varied the orders as sought by the Adult Protective Services (APS) to make them more restrictive.

The judge stressed that it was important to appreciate the circumstances that led to the PPOs. Those proceedings stemmed from the woman's "emotional and psychological attrition'' in taking care of her mother and sister, he wrote.

"To the (woman)'s mind, she was duty-bound to ensure the safety and care of (her mother and sister), and this responsibility overwhelmed her," he said in judgment grounds.

The PPOs had been obtained against her by the then-Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports on behalf of the two incapacitated persons who were then living with the woman.

Someone alerted Trans Family Services about her conduct towards them.

The ministry appointed Trans to pursue the PPOs, which were then uncontested by the woman as she understood the orders would not impede her from caring for or seeing her two relatives.

The judge noted the PPOs were issued as a result of the stress she had in taking care of her two family members, who were later placed in separate nursing homes.

She visited her mother daily and her sister weekly and there was considerable contact with the nursing home staff.

The woman, represented by lawyer Geralyn Danker, applied to revoke the PPOs as she was dissatisfied with the homes' treatment of her mother and sister. She claimed the PPO "was used as a weapon against her'' and she was hindered from caring for them.

Mr Joshua Lai from the Attorney- General's Chambers, representing APS of the Ministry of Social and Family Development, who acted for the incapacitated duo, rejected her claims, saying she had placed the duo at risk of family violence.

APS dwelt on incidents between 2015 and 2017 involving the woman's failure to heed medical advice, interfering with the medical treatment of the incapacitated duo and her "rough interactions" with them.

The judge was concerned that she would be emboldened in her actions if there was no PPO.

He added it was more troubling that, despite the PPOs and the latitude given to her by the nursing homes, the woman displayed "an over-zealousness in supervising the nursing home staff".

He varied the PPOs to partially include additional conditions as sought by APS. Among other things, the woman's supervised visits to her mother were restricted to two sessions a week and she was not to interfere with the administration of her mother's medical requirements without the nursing home's approval.

The woman is appealing.

COURT & CRIME