Helper is found not guilty of killing baby girl
After 11 months in custody and two years since mystery head injury killed infant, prosecution offers no evidence against Indonesian woman
A domestic helper charged with manslaughter after a two-month-old baby died of head injuries walked free from court yesterday after the prosecution offered no evidence against her.
Mr Justice Michael Stuart-Moore entered a verdict of not guilty and discharged the 33-year-old Indonesian woman, Sumarsih.
Sumarsih, who goes by one name, had pleaded not guilty to manslaughter.
She had been remanded for 11 months before being released on bail when the case was transferred to the High Court.
The court had earlier heard in a report by an expert for the prosecution that a fall could have caused the girl's injury.
On May 6, 2011, the girl had been sleeping on a sofa at the family home in Tin Shui Wai, Yuen Long, when her parents found her in a non-responsive state, the court heard.
She was certified dead in hospital.
A post-mortem examination found that her skull was fractured and concluded that the head injury had been the cause of death.
In the Court of First Instance yesterday, the judge pointed out that no experts from either side could explain how the injury happened as there were no external marks on her head or anywhere else on her body.
The court also heard that a fall from the sofa would not be forceful enough to have caused death.
In the absence of expert evidence, the jury would have to speculate on how the injury was caused, Stuart-Moore said.
"It would be pure speculation, which the jury is not permitted to engage in," he said, acquitting the helper.
Sumarsih had been working in Hong Kong for more than six years, of which 21/2 years were spent with the family.
Emerging from the court building, Sumarsih flashed a V-sign in front of cameras.
"I'm very, very happy. [The prosecution] had been [going on] for more than two years. I can't control my smile," she said.
When asked about the baby's death, she said: "I'm very sad. She was a good girl. The mother is a very good employer. I am going to contact her. We keep a good relationship."
The mother was absent from court yesterday.
Police said she was notified of the ruling and reacted calmly.
Sumarsih said she would apply for legal aid to claim compensation of about HK$98,000 from the government for the 11 months she had spent in custody.
She said the money would cover the salary she would have earned and payments she spent on renewing her visas during the course of the prosecution.
She hoped to find a new job in Hong Kong. "I still want to be a domestic helper," Sumarsih said.
Meanwhile, she said, she would be staying with her aunt, who is a permanent resident of Hong Kong.