Maid jailed for pouring hot oil on employer's teenage son

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Indonesian helper jailed for one year for causing hurt to teenager

A maid, angry that her employer's teenage son had scratched her face, poured hot oil from a frying pan on him.

Yesterday, she was sentenced to one year's jail for causing hurt to the boy.

It all started when Indonesian Sugianti, 34, who goes by one name, scolded the 14-year-old boy for spilling liquids on the floor. She claimed this had caused his 17-year-old sister to slip and fall two days earlier.

Annoyed, the boy toppled a shelf holding Sugianti's personal effects in the bedroom they shared in a Bukit Panjang flat on Feb 15. The two had a shouting match.

Afraid the maid would tell his father about his behaviour, the boy put back her personal effects in the bedroom.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Chong Kee En said Sugianti had been frying chicken wings in the kitchen around 8am that day when she continued to scold the boy. He reacted by covering her mouth from behind and pulling her hair.

Shocked, Sugianti shook the frying pan a few times at him, and called him a "devil's son". He scratched her face and left.

When Sugianti saw the scratch mark, she picked up the frying pan half-filled with heated oil and approached the boy who was in the toilet. When she challenged him to a fight, he shouted at her to go away

Fuming, Sugianti poured the hot oil onto his arm and leg.

The boy was taken to a polyclinic the next day when his injuries did not improve. He was treated for burns on his lower limb and right forearm and has since recovered.

A police report was made.

On Feb 17, Sugianti was treated at Changi General Hospital for soreness on the back of her head and a "claw mark" under her right eye.

In sentencing, District Judge Hamidah Ibrahim agreed there were aggravating factors in the case. She told Sugianti she should have taken up the issues with his father.

She said a deterrent sentence was required, noting a certain amount of malice and intention on the maid's part.

Pleading for leniency, Sugianti's lawyer Nasser Ismail said his client, a divorcee with a 10-year-old daughter, had been working for the household since October last year, taking care of the boy and his two sisters, as well as their ailing grandmother.

He said Sugianti suffered a lot of verbal abuse from the boy, who has a violent temperament and is much bigger than she is.

The boy had also scuffled with his mother, an Indonesian, who is estranged from his father and lives in Batam.

Sugianti, whose sentence was backdated to Oct 5, could have been jailed for up to seven years and/or fined for the offence.