For using a pestle and a heated ladle to abuse her domestic helper at her Woodlands Drive flat, District Judge Christopher Goh sentenced Suganthi Jayaraman, 34 to a total of 15 months’ jail, on top of making her pay $4,900 as compensation to her Myanmar national helper, Ms Naw Mu Den Paw.
Judge Goh described her actions as “deliberate, malicious and also showed a profound lack of basic respect for the domestic maid’s welfare and dignity”.
He added: “In my view, you seem to treat the victim as a chattel rather than a fellow human being.”
The maid Ms Naw was punished for the smallest of mistakes. On 20 September 2013, as Suganthi was unsatisfied with Naw’s frying of an Indian snack called vadai, she hit the back of Naw’s head and right eyebrow with a metal pestle.
A week late on 28 September 2013, Suganthi was unhappy with the curry Ms Naw cooked and used a heated ladle to burn her back and calf.
The last straw came two days later when the maid failed to wake up early to take her daughter to school and for that Suganthi punched Ms Naw in the left eye, causing heavy bleeding. Despite Naw’s pleas for medication, Suganthi told Naw to wear long pants to cover her wounds instead.
No longer able to tolerate the abuse, Naw ran away on 3 October 2013.
Suganthi’s lawyer, Mr Louis Joseph, said his client was remorseful and regretted her actions.
After the sentence was read out, both Suganthi and her mother started crying and the wailing elderly woman had to be escorted out by the police.