A 23-year-old unemployed man admitted in court on Friday (Sept 29) that he had repeatedly abused his then 10-month-old daughter, causing injuries including a fractured skull.
The man, who cannot be named due to a gag order, committed his offences on Aug 9 and 10 last year.
He pleaded guilty to one count each of ill-treating the baby and causing grievous hurt to her. Two other counts of ill-treating the child will be taken into consideration during sentencing.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Sheryl Yeo said the man has had a history of drug use since 2007.
During the time of the offences, he had relapsed to his old habit and consumed drugs almost every day. He was also reported to be easily frustrated and vented his anger on his daughter and his wife, the baby’s mother.
The baby was scared of the man and would burst into tears every time she saw him, the court was told.
The court also heard that on the morning of Aug 9 last year, the man threw a plastic bottle at his daughter’s face when she would not stop crying.
He left the flat and was in a foul mood when he returned that evening as he had no money to buy drugs. He scolded his wife and startled their young daughter, who started to cry.
DPP Yeo said: “When he failed to pacify the victim, he forcibly shoved the victim’s head against a wall, knowing it to be likely that the victim would sustain grievous hurt.
“The back of her head hit the wall. The victim fell to the mattress below, and was quickly carried away by (her mother).”
The man was carrying the baby at around 9am the next day when he started to bite the child all over her left forearm and upper arm. The man also bit her ears at around 7pm that day.
DPP Yeo said he had a habit of biting the girl, causing injuries.
According to his wife, she had seen him biting their child as far back as May last year.
The woman’s father, who had been alerted by a family member about his granddaughter’s ordeal, lodged a police report about his son-in-law’s acts of abuse on Aug 13 last year.
Court papers did not reveal the identity of this family member. The reason why the baby’s mother had failed to inform the authorities about her husband was also not mentioned in the documents.
Police took the baby to the Children’s Emergency Department of the National University Hospital later that day. Extensive injuries were noted all over the child, the court heard.
Besides a fracture to the back of her skull, she also had multiple bruises and cuts to her face, torso and limbs. The baby was hospitalised until Aug 15 last year.
The man, who was unrepresented, is currently behind bars after he was sent to a drug rehabilitation centre last September for substance abuse.
For the man’s abuse of the child, DPP Yeo urged District Judge Lim Keng Yeow to sentence him to at least four years’ jail and six strokes of the cane.
She stressed that the baby was a vulnerable and defenceless victim and that the man had “betrayed his position of trust”. The man will be sentenced on Nov 2.
For causing grievous hurt, he can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined or caned.
And for ill-treating the child, he can be jailed for up to four years and fined up to $4,000.
Where to get help
– If you suspect a child is abused and his or her life could be in danger, call the police on 999 immediately.
– If you are worried about a child’s safety and well-being, call the Ministry of Social and Family Development’s Child Protective Service Helpline on 1800-777-0000 or send an e-mail to the ministry at MSF_cpsintake@msf.gov.sg.
A version of this article first appeared in The Straits Times.