Singapore — A domestic worker who stabbed her employer had her conviction on a reduced murder charge set aside on Monday (Sept 21) after choosing to pursue the defence of diminished responsibility.
The accused, Daryati, has opted to qualify her plea of guilt and thus the court will hear new arguments on the defence.
She had faced the death sentence or life imprisonment although the prosecution had indicated that it would not seek the death penalty.
She now wants to rely on psychiatric evidence to avoid life imprisonment. For a defence of diminished responsibility to stand, the accused must be suffering from a specific abnormality of mind that substantially impaired her mental responsibility for causing the death.
If the defence is successful, she will be facing life imprisonment or jail of up to 20 years for culpable homicide.
The now 28-year-old helper is accused of stabbing her employer, Madam Seow Kim Choo on June 7, 2016 at her house in Telok Kurau. Madam Seow, then aged 59, had 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.
Daryati had worked for Madam Seow for only two months at that timer. Her plans to kill her employer were written in her diary. Although she was treated well by her employers, Daryati wanted to return to Indonesia and start a business. She wrote in her diary that she had to “be brave” and carry out her plan quickly.
The prosecution alleged that Daryati was homesick and missed her partner, who was in Hong Kong.
“My employer’s family is my target. DEATH!!!” she wrote in an entry on May 12, 2016, a few weeks before the incident.
Daryati hid weapons around the house and roped in another maid into her scheme without fully divulging it.
On June 7, 2016, she confronted Mdm Seow in her bedroom, dragging her into a toilet and stabbing and slashing her repeatedly.
The helper was also accused of stabbing Mr Ong Thiam Soon, Madam Seow’s husband, when he tried to enter the locked bathroom where she had stabbed his wife.
Mr Ong was stabbed in the neck but managed to overpower Daryati. She was later arrested. Both he and Daryati were taken to hospital. Mdm Seow died of multiple wounds to her head and neck.
It is reported that the prosecution confirmed on Monday that it would not be submitting for the death sentence, if Daryati still stood by the agreed statement of facts.
Daryati is expected to take the stand for the defence case next month. /TISG