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Lawyer in Telok Kurau murder claims maid was in ‘oppressed state’ when giving police statements

Daryati's lawyer, Mohamed Muzammil Mohamed, says that Daryati had gotten distressed when a policeman took pictures of her left breast, and that she was also confused and in pain because of the injuries on her hand

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Singapore—According to the lawyer of Daryati, a domestic worker on trial for killing her employer, the maid was not in the right state of mind when she gave her statements to the police after the murder.

The helper’s lawyer, Mohamed Muzammil Mohamed, says that Daryati had gotten distressed when a policeman took pictures of her left breast, and that she was also confused and in pain because of the injuries on her hand.

Mr Muzammil characterized her condition as a state of  “oppression” during this time.

The now 27-year-old helper is currently on trial for having stabbed her employer, Madam Seow Kim Choo on June 7, 2016 at Madam Seow’s house in Telok Kurau.

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Madam Seow, age 59, had been discovered with 98 knife wounds.

The helper admitted that she had stabbed her employer in the face and neck many times, as well as slit her throat, when she was interviewed by the police between June 8 and July 26, 2016.

However, Mr Muzammil claims seven of the nine statements given were not voluntarily made when Daryati was interrogated by the police.

The defense argues therefore that these statements cannot be taken as evidence.

On Tuesday, an ancillary hearing began to determine whether or not these statements are admissible. The court tackled the first statement taken while Daryati was in Changi General Hospital, as she had sustained some injuries on June 7.

On June 8, the police had asked Cuthbert Teo, a forensic pathologist, to examine the helper’s injuries on her hands, as well as to take photos of the injuries, to which Dr Teo said he had obtained Daryati’s consent.

He asked her if she had any other injuries, and said he asked for her consent to remove her clothing. After which a male police photographer took around 40 pictures of the different injuries she had, which included two photos of wounds near her left breast.

The pathologist claimed that while she flinched when she was undressed, she made no objections to the examination. She was also told by him several times that he would stop in the event that she became uncomfortable.

After the examination, she gave a statement to Assistant Superintendent Mahathir Mohamad, who told the court that he had checked on her well-being when the statement was taken. Also present was Superintendent Burhanudeen Haji Hussainar, who testified to Daryati’s alertness and articulateness when she was giving the statement.

They did not believe then that Daryati was shaken by the male photographer taking pictures of her breast.

Her lawyer asked why the gender of the photographer had not been taken into consideration, to which the Superintendent replied that they had originally only planned to take photos of the wounds in her hands. Superintendent Burhanudeen also said that if she had said she was bothered by the male photographer, the process would have stopped.

Mr Muzammil had said in court “I put it to you that you had taken upon yourself to interview and record a statement from Daryati without even referring to the doctor in charge to confirm if she was medically fit to undergo such an exercise conducted by you.

I further put it to you that the statement she gave to you was not voluntary as she was under a state of oppression.

She was suffering from pain of the injuries suffered by her, she was still having giddiness when her head knocked onto the toilet sink, and she still had the feeling of nausea when you recorded the statement from her.”

Daryati had only worked for Madam Seow for two months prior to the murder. The helper’s plans to kill her employer are supposedly written in her diary.

The prosecution alleges that Daryati was homesick and missed her partner, who was in Hong Kong.

The helper was also accused of stabbing Ong Thiam Soon, Madam Seow’s husband, when he tried to enter the locked bathroom where Daryati had stabbed his wife.

If Daryati is convicted of murder with the intention of causing death, she will face the death penalty. -/TISG

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