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The Straits Times
Oct 17, 2022
A part-time tutor hired to teach mathematics to an eight-year-old girl lost his temper on two separate sessions and assaulted the child.
On March 18, Teo Thian Hoe punched the girl’s left arm twice and flicked her left forearm three times with his fingers.
Four days later, he knocked her head with his knuckles four times, slapped her right hand and punched her upper left arm twice.
Teo, 57, pleaded guilty in court on Monday to one assault charge. A second similar charge will be considered during sentencing.
The girl cannot be named due to a gag order to protect her identity.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Ernest Goh said Teo was engaged in January to privately tutor the girl after her father found his name on a website.
During one session in the study room in her home on March 18, Teo lost his temper after she gave wrong answers to his questions.
The DPP told the court: “While scolding her, the accused flicked her left forearm thrice using his fingers and punched her left arm twice, intending thereby to cause hurt to the victim.
“As a result, the victim felt bodily pain and cried. In addition, the accused also grabbed the victim’s head and pushed it downwards.”
Some of Teo’s acts were captured on a closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera installed in the room, the court heard.
Later that day, the girl told her father that Teo would suddenly punch her whenever she failed to do her work properly.
She also told him that her arm hurt.
The father initially thought his daughter was simply being dramatic.
But he decided to observe her next lesson with Teo through the CCTV camera.
Teo lost his temper again in a session on March 22 and scolded the girl.
This time, he flicked her left forearm using his fingers, knocked her head four times with his knuckles, slapped her right hand and punched her upper left arm twice.
He also grabbed her neck and pushed her head downwards
The girl sustained a bruise on her left arm and cried.
Her father, who was home at the time, heard the tutor raising his voice at the girl.
He checked the CCTV camera and saw Teo assaulting his daughter.
He confronted the tutor and told him to leave before alerting the police.
The DPP urged the court to sentence Teo to a short jail term, stressing that the girl was a highly vulnerable victim and the offender was much bigger physically than her.
Teo, who was not represented by a lawyer, said he intended to stop teaching, and added: “This case has troubled me a lot.”
He will be sentenced on Nov 2.
For assaulting a victim below 14 years old, an offender can be jailed for up to six years and fined up to $10,000.