October 29, 2011
Singapore. For more than two years, a housewife stood accused of physically abusing her Indonesian maid.
Yesterday, a district court acquitted Leong Yoke Fun, 43, of all charges because of 'discrepancies and contradictions' in the maid's testimony.
District Judge Wong Choon Ning, in passing sentence, said the 25-year-old maid, Dwi Yanti, had exaggerated the alleged abuse in the scribbled notes she threw over the fence into a neighbor's house in Jalan Chempedak.
The judge also noted that the alleged daily beatings were mentioned only 'at a very late stage' of the 20-day-trial, which ended in July.
One of the prosecution's witnesses even called Dwi a 'liar' when questioned by Leong's lawyer.
Rosmery, the maid's agent from Signature Employment Services, denied advising the maid to tolerate the physical abuse because it would be expensive to change employers.
Defence counsel S. Radakrishnan said the maid had concocted the assault accusations as she was afraid of being sent back to Indonesia.
He noted that she told the police of only three alleged assaults in late March and April 2009, but in court, claimed to have been beaten daily for a month.
This showed her capacity to exaggerate as she went along, he said.
The lawyer also pointed out that the 'superficial injuries' found on Dwi could very easily have been self-inflicted and definitely did not appear to be the result of daily beatings.
Assistant Public Prosecutor N. K. Anitha argued that Dwi did not frame her employer.
She had not called the police, and told the court that she threw the notes into the neighbor's house to let them know what was happening 'in case something bad happens to me'.
The maid, who is being looked after by the Indonesian embassy, was not in court.
But a happy Leong, a mother of two, told The Straits Times: 'The past two years have been difficult. I now want to move on with my life.'
She declined to elaborate.
Reprinted courtesy of Straits Times Indonesia.
(read in the JG)