SINGAPORE: A 45-year-old man was sentenced to three weeks’ jail on Monday (Jan 29) for giving his nine-year-old son a beating with two umbrellas and a cane that left marks on him.
The man, who cannot be named to protect his son’s identity, had pleaded guilty in November to one count of voluntarily causing hurt to a minor.
A second charge of injuring his wife, who tried to shield her son, was considered in sentencing.
The beating took place after the boy attended a birthday party with his mother on Nov 30, 2022.
Before leaving the party, the boy said the birthday boy had given him a S$50 note.
Suspecting that her son was lying, the woman asked him to return the money and he did so before heading home.
When the boy’s father returned home from work, he wanted to discipline his son for stealing and lying.
He struck the boy multiple times on his palms and thighs with an umbrella.
The man’s wife intervened, but he told the crying boy to step outside the house.
The man shut the door on his son, but his wife opened the door to let the boy back in.
The man used a bigger umbrella to hit the boy again. Despite his wife’s interventions, he took a cane and continued striking the boy, hitting his wife in the process.
A member of the public called the police over the sound of the beating, crying and screaming from all three parties.
The police arrived and arrested the man. The boy and his mother were taken to hospital, with the boy sustaining multiple red marks on his palms, forearms, calf and hip.
The prosecution had sought six to eight weeks’ jail for the man, while defence lawyers Ms Luo Ling Ling and Mr Joshua Ho asked for non-jail sentences such as a short detention order instead.
The lawyers said their client, who works in private education, had attempted to use “correctional force” to discipline his child, but did not expect that his actions would turn out to be “excessive and disproportionate”.
At his November 2023 hearing, the man said he was “overcome with emotions” because of his deep disappointment in his son.
“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,” he said.
He was allowed to begin his jail term in March.
The penalty for voluntarily causing hurt is a maximum jail term of three years, a fine of up to S$5,000 (US$3,730), or both.
In cases where the victim is under 14, offenders can face enhanced penalties.