Cleaner pushes elderly colleague during squabble, causing her to suffer hip fracture

Dominic Low
The Straits Times
Sep 7, 2021

A squabble between two cleaners ended up with one of them, an elderly woman, suffering a hip fracture and being unable to work.

The victim, 72, was pushed by Hatimah Mohd Hussein on April 9, 2018. She had confronted her colleague for cutting the queue to tap out from work.

Hatimah, 51, pleaded guilty on Tuesday (Sept 7) to one count of causing hurt via a rash act endangering the personal safety of the victim.

Another charge, for causing grievous hurt via a rash act endangering the colleague's personal safety, will be taken into consideration by District Judge Lau Qiuyu during sentencing at a later date.

Hatimah and her victim were working as cleaners at a school in Bukit Batok at the time of the incident.

They were to end work at 4pm, and had to scan their passes at the school's lobby when their shift ended.

The court heard that the elderly cleaner started waiting near the scanner a few minutes before the end of the shift.

But Hatimah then stood in front of the victim, which the colleague understood to have signified her intention to cut the queue.

The elderly woman then told Hatimah off, asking the latter to queue behind her.

Hatimah responded by scolding the victim and calling her names.

The colleague then hurled profanities in Malay at Hatimah, who grew furious.

The court heard that Hatimah forcefully pushed the victim on her left shoulder, causing her to lose her balance and fall to the floor.

She then left the scene without helping her colleague, who was later taken home by two other workers.

The victim's daughter subsequently called for an ambulance to take her to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, where she was found to have a hip fracture. She later went for surgery to treat the injury.

Urging the court to jail Hatimah for at least three weeks, the prosecution highlighted in its submissions that Hatimah ought to have known that the victim was a "relatively vulnerable elderly woman at the time of the offence".

"It can also be hardly disputed that elderly persons are more likely to lose their sense of balance and face an increased risk of injury if they were to fall," it added.

Among other things, the prosecution noted that, as at April 19 this year, the elderly cleaner was still unable to work.

Hatimah is expected to be sentenced on Sept 24.

For causing hurt via a rash act endangering the personal safety of others, she can be jailed for up to a year, or fined up to $5,000, or both.

The Straits Times

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