Woman acquitted of failing to provide safe work environment for domestic helper
A woman, whose then domestic helper was caught on camera in 2017 cleaning a second-storey glass awning, was yesterday acquitted of failing to provide a safe working environment for the Filipina.
Following a trial, District Judge Salina Ishak gave Australian Belinda Huber, alias Belinda Tran, 37, a discharge amounting to an acquittal for the offence under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act. Those given such a discharge cannot be charged again with the same offence.
In giving her verdict, Judge Salina said she did not find the testimony of the maid, Ms Taculad Rose Mae Mata, to be "unusually convincing".
Ms Huber is a director of Huber's, the parent company of Huber's Butchery.
She had claimed trial to one count of failing to provide a safe working environment for Ms Mata between early June and July 4, 2017.
Ms Huber was accused of allowing Ms Mata to clean the glass awning over the porch area of her Goldhill Avenue house near Dunearn Road.
During the trial on Oct 25 last year, Ms Huber testified in court that she had never seen the helper standing on the glass awning.
Another maid, Ms Villegas Lyn Balbao, told the court during the trial that Ms Mata had expressed her intention to change employers while she was working for Ms Huber.
Ms Balbao, who worked for Ms Huber's neighbour, added that she spotted Ms Mata cleaning the glass awning by standing on its surface in July 2017.
Ms Balbao added that Ms Mata then asked her to snap a picture and she complied.
Ms Balbao also said: "I asked her 'Do you want me to pass to MOM (Ministry of Manpower)?'... She said yes."
The court heard that Ms Balbao did not pass the picture to the ministry.
Instead, the image was posted online and it went viral soon after.
Taking the stand on Oct 24 last year, Ms Mata claimed that Ms Huber did not stop her from cleaning the awning in such a manner and instead told her to hold on to the railing.
Those convicted of the offence under the Act can be jailed for up to a year and fined up to $10,000.