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Domestic helper on trial for murdering employer was “not medically fit” to give police statement, claims lawyer

Defence lawyer, Mohamed Muzammil Mohamed, contended during a hearing on Aug 13 that his client was feeling dizzy, nauseous, and in pain when police questioned her for a statement

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Singapore — The defence lawyer of the Indonesian domestic helper accused of murdering her employer argued that the helper was “oppressed” and “not fit” to give a statement when she was initially questioned by the police in 2016.

Daryati (27) is on trial for allegedly stabbing her 59-year-old employer Madam Seow Kim Choo and husband Mr Ong Thiam Soon at their Telok Kurau home last June 7, 2016. Choo was reportedly left with 98 knife wounds.

When questioned by the police, Daryati admitted to slitting her employer’s neck and stabbing her several times.

The defence lawyer, Mr Mohamed Muzammil Mohamed, contended during a hearing on Tuesday (Aug 13) that his client was feeling dizzy, nauseous, and in pain when police questioned her for a statement.

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According to court reports, seven out of nine statements were not given voluntarily and cannot count as evidence.

On the night of the incident, Daryati sustained injuries to her hand and was taken to Changi General Hospital for treatment.

Police then assigned forensic pathologist Cuthbert Teo to examine Daryati’s hand injuries and take necessary photographs.

Daryati consented to the medical examination and to being undressed for the process, according to Dr Teo.

A male police officer took several photos of Daryati’s injuries which include abrasions on her neck and left breast and asked for her statement.

Assistant Superintendent Mahathir Mohamad stated in court that Daryati had a “normal” and cooperative demeanour although she did flinch and sob at times.

Another officer, Superintendent Burhanudeen Haji Hussainar, confirmed that Daryati was “alert and able to articulate” her responses when asked for a statement.

Defence lawyer Mr Muzammil argued that Daryati was “not medically fit” to undergo such examinations during that time. She had initially complained of giddiness and nausea to paramedics.

He also questioned why the police had no sensitivity to the gender of the suspect, saying it was “very distasteful” for them to do.

“What do you think of a young girl having her breast photographed by a male photographer?” the lawyer was quoted as saying in a report by Channel News Asia.

ASP Mahathir replied that the photos were “professionally done” and there was a female officer standing by as well.

The ancillary hearing is scheduled to continue this week.

If found guilty of murder, Daryati faces the death penalty. -/TISG

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