Woman found guilty of 12 charges of maid abuse
Woman found guilty of 12 charges of maid abuse, husband convicted of one
A woman who used an array of household items such as a hammer, chopper, bamboo pole and stone pestle or pounder to hit her Indonesian maid, causing permanent disfiguration, was convicted of maid abuse after a 17-day trial.
Zariah Mohd Ali, 56, was found guilty of 12 charges, while her husband, security guard Mohamad Dahlan, 58, was convicted of a single charge of hitting domestic worker Khanifah's head with the cover of a frying pan at their Woodlands flat some time in 2012.
Zariah was found guilty of hitting the back of the maid's head and her mouth with a hammer; striking her left ear with a bamboo pole; hitting her forehead with a stone pestle; stabbing her shoulder with a pair of scissors; slashing her forearm with a chopper; and forcefully pushing her left little finger backwards until it broke.
The court heard that Ms Khanifah, now 37, who comes from Indonesia, came to Singapore to work for the couple in end-November 2011. It was her first job here.
Initially, her relationship with the family was good.
But some time in June 2012, her relationship with Zariah deteriorated. Her employer began to scold her and subject her to frequent physical abuse. She hit the victim's head with a hammer on about five occasions.
On one occasion, the victim was cleaning the toilet when Zariah scolded her for not being "clean enough" and working too slowly. Zariah hit her once on the back of her head "very hard" with the blunt side of the hammer, causing her head to bleed.
The victim was not given any medical attention, only a sanitary pad to stop the bleeding.
Her head wounds had not yet healed when Zariah struck her in the same manner on the head on another occasion.
Ms Khanifah also testified that Zariah used the hammer to hit her on the mouth on more than two occasions.
Once, Zariah scolded her and told her to grin such that her teeth were bared. Zariah then struck her once in her mouth, hitting the top row of her teeth and the middle of her bottom lip.
Ms Khanifah's gums bled, her lips became swollen and her teeth were slightly loosened.
On another occasion, two of her teeth broke and another two became detached.
The maid also testified that Zariah stabbed her shoulder with a pair of scissors on more than five occasions.
And once, when she was cleaning fish in the kitchen, Zariah scolded her and suddenly held a chopper and slashed her on the left forearm.
The offences came to light after the maid was abruptly sent home by the couple on Dec 19 that year.
As she had bruises on her face and head, she was made to wear a long-sleeved shirt, trousers and a tudung on the day of her flight.
Zariah's daughter put make-up on her and gave her a pair of prescription glasses.
The maid's injuries were discovered in Indonesia.
District Judge Luke Tan said the victim was in a vulnerable position as she spoke no English, had no friends here and had no means of escape when she was at the couple's home. The case is adjourned to Nov 23.