A domestic helper who punched a seven-year-old boy three times in the stomach after he refused to do piano practice - bursting his intestine - was jailed for two years yesterday.
Palgue Jonita Awas, 33, was found guilty of assault causing grievous bodily harm.
The District Court heard that the blows were so hard the boy required emergency surgery for a burst duodenum and spent a month in hospital.
The maid escaped a more serious charge of assault with intent as Deputy Judge Sham Siu-man found that she did not deliberately hurt the boy given their previously harmonious relationship during the four years she had cared for him. The judge said the attack was carried out in a fit of anger.
He criticised Awas for her cruel act, saying her crime was more serious because the young victim was vulnerable and because she had breached the trust placed in her by his parents.
'The court had to send a very clear message to you and many others who have children of tender age under their care that violence doesn't pay,' he said. 'If you can't cope with your job, quit. If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. Had you been able to control yourself, the kid would not have to go through all the pain and suffering.'
The court heard that one day in August 2009, the maid told the boy to practise on the piano as instructed by his mother.
When the boy refused, Awas pushed him to the floor. She then carried him to the sofa and punched him three times in the stomach. The boy cried in pain but was able to get up to play piano for half an hour before Awas took him to a neighbouring building for a Chinese tutorial class. On the way, he vomited and was later sent to hospital.
The boy told his mother of the assault at the end of August, leading to Awas' arrest.