Employer jailed for slapping maid, causing temporary hearing loss

·Senior Reporter
·2-min read
Hand of a person slapping gesture, isolated on white background
(PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — A 51-year-old woman who slapped her Myanmar maid with so much force that the victim suffered hearing loss in 2017 was jailed for seven months on Wednesday (14 April).

Gayathri Iyer, a Singaporean housewife, was also ordered to pay a compensation of $5,333.96 to the 30-year-old victim, whom she also hit on her back and shoulder on another occasion. 

Gayathri had earlier been convicted of these two assault charges after a 13-day trial. She was acquitted of two other charges of causing hurt involving slapping the same helper's face and hitting her back with a frying pan. 

The slapping incident was at about 5.45am on 7 December 2017 at Gayathri's seventh floor apartment at Pebble Bay condominium along Tanjong Rhu Road. The incident involving hitting the maid's shoulder and back was on 27 October 2017. 

The victim started working in Singapore in April 2014 and worked for the culprit from June to December 2017.

According to the prosecution, the victim "would buy dry food such as biscuits and noodles for consumption during the week ahead on Sundays" as Gayathri's family did not provide her with sufficient food.

In July, the victim confided in two compatriots that she had been abused. They also testified that they saw a big bump on the victim's head. This was allegedly due to the culprit having thrown a high-heeled shoe at the victim.

The victim also sent photos of her injuries to her friends, including bruising over the right shoulder.

Text messages retrieved by the police also showed the victim confiding to her friends about her employer. Among other things, the victim said, "Female employer is very smart. She acted very nice in front of male employer. She tortured me when the male employer is not around."

The victim also worried that the abuse would worsen if she were to report the matter to the police.

A hearing test conducted on the victim in December 2017 found that she had pain and minimal hearing in the left ear associated with occasional giddiness and ringing in the ears. Another test the next month found that her hearing had improved. But in June 2018, she visited a doctor as she had giddiness almost daily. A final hearing test three months later found that she had normal hearing.

The punishment for causing hurt is a jail term of up to two years and/or a fine of up to $5,000.

If the victim is a domestic maid and the offender is her employer or a member of the employer’s household, the maximum punishment is up to three years' jail and a fine of up to $7,500.

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