SINGAPORE — A man who felt the need to discipline his stepson twisted the boy’s hand until it fractured and caused a kidney laceration when he hit him.
The 32-year-old man also caused the boy to lose part of his hearing by exacerbating an old medical condition.
The victim was only six to nine years old at the time of the offences.
The man was sentenced to two years and nine months’ jail, and six strokes of the cane on Thursday (6 January), after pleading guilty to voluntarily causing grievous hurt, ill treating a child, and criminally intimidating the same child.
All parties in this case cannot be named due to a gag order protecting the boy’s identity.
Now 11, the boy was living with his biological mother and stepfather when the abuse occurred. The boy feared being alone with his stepfather, as the man felt the boy was naughty, prone to lying, and exaggeration. He would scold the boy and hit him using either a cane, a belt, or his bare hands.
In September 2016, the victim’s mother quarrelled with her husband about his methods of discipline. “The victim’s mother told the accused that she felt that the way he disciplined the victim seemed like he was trying to kill him,” said Deputy Public Prosecutor Dhiraj Chainani.
“Triggered by his wife’s words, the accused walked into the kitchen and took out a knife. He then pulled the victim towards him, and pointed the knife at the victim,” the prosecutor added.
Accused angered over minor issues
On 12 November 2019, the stepfather asked the boy for his school report book, but the boy replied that he did not have it.
The stepfather did not believe him and checked his schoolbag, where he found the boy’s uneaten lunch. He asked the boy why he had not eaten and the victim replied that he did not request the meal.
The stepfather then asked his mother, who replied that the boy had requested lunch earlier. Thinking that the victim had lied, the stepfather punched and slapped his face, elbowed his back and punched his body several times.
He was aware that the victim had undergone surgery in 2018 to correct conductive hearing loss in his right ear. After the incident, the boy started having trouble hearing in his right ear again.
Hospitalised after abuse
A few hours later, the victim was in his room when his stepfather called out to him to ask if his mother had given him money for school. The victim did not respond to the question even when it was asked again.
The family’s helper then asked the victim the same question, which the boy heard and answered.
Enraged by how the victim had responded to the helper but not him, he pulled the boy to his own room, where they remained for the next two hours behind closed doors.
The man then twisted the boy’s wrist till he cried out in pain. The helper heard the screams.
The next day, the helper was shocked to see that the boy’s hand was swollen and the left side of his face bruised. The boy said that his stepfather had twisted his left wrist. The helper called the victim’s maternal grandmother, who also called the child’s mother.
The boy was later brought to KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, which referred the case to the police.
He was diagnosed with bruises on his face, left elbow, a kidney laceration and Type A traumatic tympanic membrane perforation of the right ear. The boy also had slightly displaced fractures in his wrist. He was hospitalised for 10 days.
He has since undergone surgery again on his right ear and regained hearing to the same threshold as before his abuse.
After he was discharged on 23 November 2019, the victim stayed with his maternal grandparents instead of his mother and stepfather.
He feared leaving his grandparents' home as he was afraid of encountering his stepfather, who lived a few blocks away. He also had nightmares of his stepfather and missed his mother, whom he felt seldom visited him.
On Thursday, the man told District Judge May Mesenas that the boy had “mis-advertised” not seeing his mother, as he would be at his cousin’s house when his wife went over to visit.
“Every weekend, I ask my wife to go to my in-laws’ house, but sometimes when she goes, my stepson not around, sometimes he goes to his cousin’s house to sleep overnight and he did not inform mother.”
Mitigating in person, the man asked for leniency for his back pain. “I hope I have leniency from you cause I have kids to take care,” he added.
The DJ responded that the stepfather should deal with his anger issues instead of subjecting the boy to physical abuse.
Stay in the know on-the-go: Join Yahoo Singapore's Telegram channel at http://t.me/YahooSingapore