Ex-civil servant was 'taking a shower when Bangladeshi maid was assaulted'

Former civil servant tells court she emerged from bathroom to find her Bangladeshi helper missing and a policeman knocking at her door

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 July, 2014, 4:57am
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 July, 2014, 9:05am

A former civil servant accused of pouring scalding-hot water on her maid was in the shower at the time the alleged assault happened, the District Court heard yesterday.

Au Wai-chun, 61, said she had gone to take a shower to "cool her head" after Begum Raksona became difficult and burst into tears for no reason. Shortly after she emerged from the bathroom, a police officer was knocking on the door, she said.

"What she accused me of all happened when I was in the shower," said Au, who denies causing grievous harm to the Bangladeshi helper by pouring hot water down her shirt.

The court has heard that Au splashed the water on Raksona in her flat at Bauhinia Garden, Tseung Kwan O, on September 30, causing the helper to suffer first-to-second-degree burns.

Yesterday, Au said Raksona had been acting abnormally before the incident. She had deliberately shown Au "attitude" and had thrown a pillow at her before saying what appeared to be a Bengali word. The court did not hear what the word meant.

The defendant said she then took a shower to cool her head and think of appropriate ways to respond.

After her shower, she found a metal cup - which she allegedly used to pour the water on Raksona - in her room and water on the floor.

Raksona was nowhere to be found in the flat.

"I was wondering whether she was down at the park," Au told the court. "I was thinking that after I put my clothes back on, I might give Leung a call. But shortly afterwards, a police officer knocked on my door."

The court previously heard that a person named Leung was shown as Raksona's employer on her contract.

In cross-examination, prosecutor Matthew Chong Chun-sang questioned the credibility of Au's evidence.

He said Au had told the court that Raksona said a Bengali word to her but this had not been recorded in the witness statement.

The defendant said she pointed it out to the police officer recording the statement, but was told by both the officer and the lawyer then acting for her that minor details did not matter.

Au also told the court yesterday that her relationship with Raksona was not bad, although there was a language barrier.

A few days before the alleged assault, Au said, she went to a karaoke bar with Raksona, where they took a "selfie" together, the defendant said.

"[Raksona] seemed quite happy," Au said.

An expert witness in psychology told the court that although Au might be suffering from depression, she had no tendency to get aggressive towards others.

"She has a temper, but she doesn't lose it easily," Peter Lee Wing-ho, director of the clinical health psychology centre at the Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital, said.

The court heard earlier that Raksona suffered blisters and peeling skin on her chest after the alleged assault.

The case continues today.