Part-time tutor who assaulted 8-year-old pupil for giving wrong answers gets 4 days' jail

Shaffiq Alkhatib
The Straits Times
Nov 2, 2022

 A part-time tutor who assaulted an eight-year-old pupil he was teaching after she gave wrong answers was sentenced to four days’ jail on Wednesday.

Teo Thian Hoe, 57, had earlier pleaded guilty to an assault charge. A second similar charge was considered during sentencing.

The girl cannot be named due to a gag order to protect her identity.

In earlier proceedings, Deputy Public Prosecutor Ernest Goh said Teo was engaged in January to privately tutor the girl in mathematics 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 had told the court: “While scolding her, the accused flicked her left forearm thrice using his fingers and punched her left arm twice... 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 camera installed in the room.

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.

Her father initially thought she 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 suffered a bruise on her left arm and cried.

Her father, who was at 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, told him to leave, and then alerted the police.

Teo, who was not represented by a lawyer, told the court on Wednesday that he had lost control while teaching the girl, whom he described as a very slow pupil and that her level of understanding was at the “kindergarten level”.

He also told the court that the victim’s mother was a teacher and that he wondered how she could allow her daughter to be in such a state.

Teo’s bail was set at $2,500 on Wednesday. He is expected to surrender himself at the State Courts on Nov 7 to begin serving his sentence.

The Straits Times

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