He hit his 9-year-old son multiple times with a plastic hanger with all his strength in a fit of anger because the boy was unable to answer his homework questions.
At the State Courts on Thursday (6 December), the 35-year-old father was sentenced to four months’ jail. He had earlier pleaded guilty to one charge of ill-treatment of a child.
In sentencing the father, District Judge Eddy Tham said “it was heart-wrenching to hear the cries of the child”, as captured on CCTV footage.
Calling the man’s actions “relentless and extreme” and “totally disproportionate”, the judge said there can be no excuses for them, no matter how frustrated he was with his son.
The courts have to come down hard on the perpetrators of crimes against vulnerable child victims, the judge added, and the appropriate message has to be sent to deter like-minded offenders.
The man cannot be named to protect his son’s identity.
Son asked father for help with homework
On 4 August last year, at about 10.40pm, the boy had difficulties with his homework and asked his father, who was watching television, for help. The boy’s mother had gone out for dinner with her friends.
The father walked over to the dining table and told his son to think of the answers to his homework questions on his own. But the boy provided several wrong answers.
The man took a plastic hanger from the bedroom, prompting his son to plead for leniency. Ignoring his plea, the man grabbed the boy’s hand and forcefully yanked him from the chair, causing the boy to tumble onto the floor.
The father grabbed the son’s leg and held him upside down with one hand, and hit him with the hanger multiple times on his buttocks and legs with the other hand.
Each time he hit the boy, the man raised his arm and the hanger before swinging it down with his full strength. This lasted for about 30 seconds.
As the son lay dazed on the ground, the father shouted at him. When the boy said he didn’t know the answers to the homework questions, the man kicked him twice forcefully.
The father then told the son, “you know why you don’t know, (it’s because) you’re stupid!”
The man threw the hanger forcefully at the son twice and kicked him once more before chasing the boy into the bedroom, where he hit his buttocks with his hands multiple times.
Neighbour called police, suspecting abuse
A neighbour called the police hotline, saying he could hear a child crying and that he suspected a case of child abuse.
The boy’s mother came home at about 1.15am the next day. He told her that his father had hit him with a hanger. She then retrieved the CCTV footage.
The boy was admitted to KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital for three days, with blood clots on his back, right forearm and left buttock.
The boy’s father and mother are undergoing divorce proceedings.
For ill-treating his son, the father could have been fined up to $4,000 and jailed up to four years. He will start serving his sentence on 11 February.
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