Singapore PR jailed one year for abusing maid by burning her forearm with a spatula while drunk

Rajamanickam Suresh Kumar arriving at the State Courts on May 19, 2021. — TODAY pic
Rajamanickam Suresh Kumar arriving at the State Courts on May 19, 2021. — TODAY pic

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SINGAPORE, Aug 18 — A 35-year-old man was jailed for one year yesterday for twice abusing his domestic worker in 2018 after returning home intoxicated.

Rajamanickam Suresh Kumar, a Singapore permanent resident from India, was found guilty of voluntarily causing hurt to Vadivel Gowthami by means of a heated substance, burning her forearm with a spatula.

He was also convicted of using criminal force on the India national by pulling her wrist and pushing her into her room.

He denied committing the offences during his trial but District Judge Ronald Gwee found that the prosecution had proved the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.

On the second day of his trial on Oct 20 last year, Rajamanickam also failed to turn up in court, saying he felt unwell. 

He was hauled back and charged the next day with absconding while out on bail. Deputy Public Prosecutor Thiagesh Sukumaran asked for a pre-trial conference to be held to deal with this charge.

Rajamanickam was remanded after allegedly jumping bail, up until December last year. This period will be factored into his jail sentence.

He was not represented because two lawyers who previously defended him had discharged themselves.

What happened

During the trial, the court heard that it was Vadivel’s first time working in Singapore. She cleaned, cooked and took care of Rajamanickam’s children.

She earned S$400 (RM1,245.59) a month and was told that she had to work between 5.30am and 11.30pm every day.

She testified that she told her agent in July 2018 that she wanted to return to India, because she felt tired every day.

The agent said that she could not help her, but later told Rajamanickam’s wife about Vadivel’s complaint. 

On October 18, 2018, Rajamanickam returned home in an intoxicated state at about 7.30pm.

Vadivel was in the midst of making thosai, an Indian savoury pancake, when she went to the hall for a short while. When she went back to the kitchen, Rajamanickam was holding a spatula, which he then used to burn her forearm.

He left and she later went to sleep in her room. 

After reporting the case to the police, she told staff members at Ng Teng Fong General Hospital that he had been upset with her for preparing dinner late.

The next day, Vadivel told Rajamanickam’s wife, Pandiselve Pandian, that she had burned herself. She lied because she was having financial difficulties and no longer wished to return to India.

Later that night, Rajamanickam returned home drunk once more. He told Vadivel to go to his mother-in-law’s place to take his daughter home.

Vadivel refused to do this since it was past her working hours. He told her: “Since MOM (Ministry of Manpower) informed you to sleep at 10pm, why are you still awake?” 

He then pulled her wrist and pushed her into her room.

The next day, she told Pandiselve to let her go back to India but the other woman told her to stay on. 

Vadivel soon returned from Pandiselve’s mother’s home to retrieve some belongings before calling the police.

The maximum penalty for causing hurt by means of a heated substance is up to seven years’ jail, a fine and caning. 

Employers who cause hurt to domestic workers in their household are liable to one-and-a-half times the punishment — resulting in up to 10.5 years’ jail.

For using criminal force, Rajamanickam could have been jailed for up to three months or fined up to S$1,500, or both.

If convicted of absconding, he could be jailed up to three years or fined, or both. — TODAY

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