Singapore

Girl, 19, gets personal protection order after brother's attack

An adult who hit his teenage sister was court-restrained from using family violence on her, in what is believed to be the first reported personal protection order (PPO) case involving siblings.

The 19-year-old polytechnic student had applied for the order after an incident on May 26 last year at the family home.

The brother, unhappy she had passed snide remarks at her elder sister, confronted the teen in her room. When she retorted, the enraged 29-year-old hit her near her left eye, leaving the teen with injuries that required hospital treatment and stitches.

The elder brother had also assaulted the teen in July 2018, following a verbal exchange with her for coming back late and drinking.

All parties were not named in court documents.

In issuing the PPO, District Judge Lo Wai Ping wrote in judgment grounds last month that she had ordered both siblings to attend counselling at an agency appointed by the Ministry of Social and Family Development.

A PPO under the Women's Charter is a court order restraining a person from committing violence against a family member. Breaching the PPO is a criminal offence, and offenders can be fined up to $2,000, jailed for up to six months, or both.

The teen lived in a Housing Board flat with her elder brother and their mother. The other occupants are her elder sister and the woman's four-year-old son. The teen's father died in 2017.

The incident erupted after the teen interceded when her elder sister scolded her own son. Her elder sister told her not to interfere, but the teen allegedly replied rudely.

Angered by her behaviour, the elder brother confronted her and they exchanged words before he hit her. The girl went to live with her aunt the next day. It was later through lawyer Emilia Wong that her aunt applied for the PPO against her brother on the teen's behalf as she is a minor.

The brother, defended by lawyer Riyach Hussain, argued that the application was unnecessary as she did not intend to return to the family flat.

District Judge Lo said she would still want to meet up at times with the mother and elder sister in the flat and should not be prevented because she feared her brother.

"A PPO issued against the (brother) would have a restraining effect on him," he added.

The judge took into account the circumstances under which the acts were committed on both occasions in limiting the PPO to four years and ordered him to pay $3,000 in costs.

"(Both) should not let the incident mar their relationship permanently and they should make efforts to repair their relationship in the interest of their love and care for their mother," said the judge.

The brother is appealing.

COURT & CRIME