Singapore: A Woman Allowed husband to physically abuse 11-year-old daughter to death Defense attorneys told the High Court on Wednesday (5 July) that the husband, who was 16 and a single mother, was himself a victim of child abuse.
The couple had pleaded guilty in February to their role in the death of the woman’s first child, a girl. The girl died in November 2020 from a head injury inflicted on an exercise bar by her stepfather, who was angry with her for eating too late.
The 28-year-old pleaded guilty to six counts, including manslaughter less than murder, abuse of a victim, and voluntary use of a weapon to inflict bodily harm. A further 10 charges are subject to sentencing.
The victim’s 29-year-old biological mother pleaded guilty to three charges, including allowing the child’s death and voluntarily injuring her. The remaining six counts are also subject to sentencing.
Due to a gag order that protects the identity of the victim, the names of the perpetrator and victim cannot be released.
The prosecution team demanded 8 to 12 years in prison for the woman and 14 to 17 years in prison for the man, and at least 12 strokes of the cane.
Lawyer Mohamed Muzamir Mohamed seeks six to eight years in prison for the woman, while Ahmad Nizam Abbas seeks 12 years and 7 months for the man and 14 years and 7 months for the man plus eight strokes with a cane. I am looking for
Regarding the woman’s crime, deputy prosecutor Ng Jun Chung said it was the first time a criminal had been sentenced for allowing the death of a child.
Based on the duration and number of incidents, the woman was fully aware of the significant risk of serious harm to her daughter and knew that her spouse had been abusing the girl since February 2020. rice field.
“She did nothing to protect the deceased,” Ng said.
The woman also actively prevented her daughter’s school and Child Protective Services from getting involved with the girl, by which time she had visible bruises.
Ng said the woman was unaware of what was happening.
“It’s rather a case of her knowing what was going on but choosing not to pay attention to what was going on,” he said.
Muzamir said her client, who was 27 at the time of the incident, had a “difficult life” from an early age, dropping out of secondary school due to “constant bullying” and then attempting suicide.
Lawyers say she was also abused by her mother, who repeatedly locked her in a storeroom.
When his client was 16, she became pregnant by her then-boyfriend, became a single mother, and gave birth to her first son, who later became the victim of the incident.
To support herself and her daughter, she took on jobs such as cashier, clerk, food delivery, and early childhood assistant teacher.
Muzamir said her first marriage was not happy and she was physically and emotionally abused by her first husband, with whom she had two more children.
After starting a relationship with her accomplice, the woman became pregnant and gave birth to her youngest child in August 2020. The couple got married in April 2020, by which time the woman had become a stay-at-home mom to care for the children.
The lawyer said she was totally financially dependent on her new spouse, breastfeeding an infant and taking care of her young sons while his spouse was abusing her daughter. .
Muzamir said it was clear that the victim’s stepfather was most responsible in the case. His client accused his daughter of lying, stealing and watching pornography.
The father-in-law only bullied the girl, even though the girl’s siblings had the same problem of eating late since childhood.
Muzamir asked for mercy so that his client could be reunited with his children after serving his sentence. He said he was scared to take her daughter to the hospital after she was fatally injured on an exercise bar because of her spouse’s words.
He told her how he had been taken away from his brothers and put into a home because of his parents’ abuse. He then reminded her that if her authorities found out, her children would be taken away from her.
Deterrence must be the top priority for courts in child abuse-homicide cases, deputy attorney Jonathan Lee said when discussing the man’s sentencing.
Not only was she the young stepdaughter of a man, she also weighed less than other women, pointing to the vulnerability of the deceased.
He also noted the nature of the attacks on children and the men’s attempts to cover up evidence of their actions.
As for the particularly fatal blow, Lee said the man deliberately waited for the girl to let her guard down before attacking, demonstrating the ruthless nature of the attack.
“He didn’t show any concern for her health until she was practically unconscious,” he said.
Attorney Ahmad Nizam Abbas said the man’s instructions were very clear: to keep mitigation short, not to make excuses for violations, and to focus on his background to gain the court’s understanding. , said.
When his client met the victim’s mother, he said she already had three children. When he married her, he assumed not only the role of her husband, but also that of her stepfather.
A young 26-year-old newlywed with no previous marriage or child-rearing experience, he was “forced” to make the immediate transition from being a single man to being a husband and parent.
“This lifelong commitment immediately intimidated him,” the lawyer said.
“He wanted to be a good father to his three stepchildren and take care of them to the best of his ability and know-how,” added Ahmad Nizam.
He said clients needed to meet their children’s needs and develop parenting skills on the go, including preparing meals, sending them to school, and playing with them.
When his wife gave birth to their biological child in August 2020, his lawyers said he had additional responsibilities.
He asked the court to consider his client’s traumatic childhood.
“Unfortunately, he was a victim himself. He didn’t have role models to learn from or emulate,” the lawyer said.
He said the client’s own troubled family history exacerbated the situation. The man was the second eldest son in a family of nine children and was a garbage collector and housewife.
Lawyers said the family had “constant financial problems” and that the man’s father had been abusive to him and his siblings since he was six years old.
Ahmad Nizam said that when his client was 9 years old, all of the children were taken away from their parents’ home by the Child Protection Agency because of the long-term disappearance of their parents and abuse.
According to him, clients were separated from their siblings and moved from house to house, unable to establish proper family units or parental ties with anyone.
Fearing that this would happen to his own children, and knowing firsthand the pain of going through foster care and adoption, the man tried to be an active parent himself, but the experience was not enough. Ahmad said it “distracted” the perception of what it would look like. Nizam.
The attorney cited a report from the Institute of Mental Health that said his clients were more likely to be abusers themselves because of their backgrounds as victims of child abuse.
“[My client]has not provided any justification or justification for his actions,” the attorney said. “He admits that his actions had deplorable and tragic consequences[this]to provide context for the disciplinary methods to which he was subjected.”
He read a statement from his client, who said, “There has not been a day that I have not pondered and regretted the terrible and abominable deeds I have committed. I do not blame anyone but myself.” I am very ashamed of myself.” I felt that I no longer had dignity. ”
He said his client used court documents to read his deeds “every day,” to learn how his deeds affected those around him, embarrassed his family and society, and “completely It is said that he broke down in tears because of “regret.”
He said he found solace in religion, which “taught him to repent”, and planned to undergo further education in prison.
He also hopes to reunite with his wife and children as a “more responsible father” after completing his sentence.
Eleven male family members, including fathers and brothers, were seated in the general auditorium.
Judge Phan Kang Chau requested further submissions from both sides and stayed the case at a later date.
Of the woman’s three remaining children, two were with her first husband, and the youngest is in foster care with the Child Protection Agency.
https://www.channelnewsasia.com/singapore/stepfather-11-girl-fatal-abuse-exercise-bar-defence-3607086 Defense attorneys share ‘traumatic’ and ‘challenging’ background of couple in murder of 11-year-old girl