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The Straits Times
July 8, 2022
A recalcitrant offender was out on bail after he committed offences including assaulting his baby son when he rained blows on his six-year-old stepson.
The 33-year-old, who cannot be named owing to a gag order to protect his victims' identities, pleaded guilty on Friday (July 8) to one count each of assault, theft and ill-treating a child. He was sentenced to 13 months and a week's jail.
The court heard that in 2009, the man was given an 18-month probation for theft.
Two years later, he was sentenced to three years' jail with 12 strokes of the cane for offences including robbery.
He returned to a life of crime after his release, committing offences such as cheating, theft and careless driving.
He was sentenced to 27 months' jail and a fine of $500 in 2015.
For his current case, the court heard that he was at home in May 2020 when he saw his one-year-old son fighting with his sister in their cot.
Feeling upset, he slapped his son about four times on his arm and leg.
He was teaching his stepson on May 28 that year when he felt frustrated with the boy, who was four years old at the time.
He slapped, caned and pushed the child, causing him to hit a fan.
The man's wife alerted the police the next day and officers were interviewing her over this incident when she revealed that he had also assaulted the baby earlier.
The two children were taken to KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH) and the baby was found with a lesion on his right thigh.
The court heard that the four-year-old boy suffered multiple injuries.
The man was under investigation over these acts of assault when he committed theft on April 12 last year.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Norine Tan said he was near a coffee shop in Gambas Crescent near Sembawang Avenue at around 1.30am when he spotted a man who was asleep.
The offender took the man's bag and left the scene. It contained items including a wallet, around $100 cash and car keys.
The victim woke up at around 3am and alerted a security officer when he realised that his bag was missing.
They viewed surveillance footage of the area and saw the offender taking the bag.
Following an investigation, the police arrested him on May 8 last year and he was charged in court five months later. He was then released on bail.
In December last year, he returned the wallet to the police and provided restitution of $200 to the victim.
Despite these, the man did not learn his lesson and reoffended on Feb 26 this year by physically abusing his stepson, who was then six years old.
DPP Tan said he got angry after the child kicked their domestic helper.
The man took his stepson to a room before he slapped, pinched, punched and kicked the boy. The child cried throughout his ordeal and suffered multiple bruises.
The prosecutor said: "The accused's wife rushed home after she could not find (the boy) anywhere in the house when monitoring the surveillance footage of the flat that she had on her mobile phone.
"She was worried that (the boy) may have been assaulted by the accused again. When she saw that (he) had bruises on him after she reached home, she called for the police."
The police arrested the man later that day and the child was taken to KKH. The offender's bail was revoked and he was still in remand when he appeared in court via video link on Friday.
Defence lawyer Sim Bing Wen told District Judge Brenda Chua that his client is remorseful.
Mr Sim added that the man is extremely sorry that his frustration over the children's behaviour had caused him to overreact.
For assaulting a child below 14 years old, an offender can be jailed for up to four years and fined up to $10,000.