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HomesingaporeFather pleads guilty to beating 9-year-old son with umbrellas and cane, leaving...

Father pleads guilty to beating 9-year-old son with umbrellas and cane, leaving red marks

SINGAPORE: Suspecting that his nine-year-old son had stolen money at a birthday party, a man hit his son multiple times with two umbrellas and a cane.

His wife pleaded with him to stop and attempted to shield their son, but was struck with the cane as well.

The 45-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect his son’s identity, pleaded guilty on Thursday (Nov 9) to one count of voluntarily causing hurt to a minor. 

A second charge of injuring his wife will be taken into consideration for sentencing.

The court heard that the man lived with his wife and son.

At about 10pm on Nov 30 last year, the boy went to a birthday party with his mother.

Before leaving the party, the boy told his mother that he had been given a S$50 note by the birthday boy.

The offender’s wife suspected that the boy had been lying and told him to return the money, which he did.

They returned home and the woman informed her husband about what happened.

When the boy’s father returned home from work at about 11.30pm, he wanted to discipline his son for purportedly stealing and lying.

He took an umbrella and began hitting the boy’s palms and thighs multiple times, causing the child to cry.

When the boy’s mother saw this, she intervened and asked her husband to stop hitting their son.

The man told his son to step outside the house and closed the door. 

The boy’s mother intervened again, opening the door to let her son back in.

However, when the boy returned, his father used a bigger umbrella to hit the boy’s hands and thighs multiple times.

The boy’s mother tried to stop the beating, but the man persisted. He took a cane and continued hitting his son’s body, including his hands and hips.

The boy’s mother continued to plead with her husband to stop, but the man also hit her with the cane when she attempted to shield her son.

Eventually, the man stopped hitting his son and wife and left.

The police received a call from a member of the public just before midnight. The caller said they could hear a man who kept scolding and smacking his child, with the kid crying and the wife screaming.

When the police arrived, the boy and his mother were taken to hospital, and the offender arrested when he returned home.

The boy was examined in a hospital and observed to have red linear marks over his body, including nine red marks in areas like his palms, forearms and calf.

There were also multiple red marks over his hip, with bruising. The injuries had been sustained as a result of the beating with the three objects.

The prosecution sought between six to eight weeks’ jail for the offender, pointing to the use of two umbrellas and a cane and the extent of force used.The victim was not only the man’s own son, but a minor at nine years old, the prosecutor said.

Related:

When caning of children becomes abuse: Lawyers explain the legal parameters

MITIGATION

The man’s lawyers, Ms Luo Ling Ling and Mr Joshua Ho from Luo Ling Ling law firm, asked for non-jail sentences such as a short detention order (SDO) instead. An SDO detains an offender in prison for a short time but does not leave a criminal record upon release.

The lawyers said their client, who works in the private education sector, had attempted to use “correctional force to discipline his child”. According to the defence’s mitigation plea, the man’s first motivation was to discipline his son and teach him “the right values”.

“He did not expect that his actions that day would turn out to be excessive and disproportionate,” said the lawyers.

They said he accepts that he had used the wrong means to discipline and correct his son’s behaviour. The man said he caned his son to teach him that it was wrong to steal and lie.

“I was overcome with emotions because of the deep disappointment in my son and hit him harder than I should have,” he said.

“When my wife tried to stop me, I did not stop hitting my son and accidentally hit her as well. I did not set out to hurt my family and I am sorry for what I have done.”

The man will return to court for sentencing in January. 

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