A rehabilitation centre worker who stuck adhesive tape onto mentally disabled residents to make them sleep earlier was on Friday given a suspended jail sentence. Chan Ma-lee, 29, sobbed in the dock at Sha Tin Court as she was sentenced to three months, suspended for two years, following three weeks of remand in custody. Magistrate Ivy Chui Yee-mei said the case was serious enough to warrant an immediate jail sentence. But she changed her mind after reading mitigation letters that included a “surprising” one from a victim’s mother, who said she never blamed the defendant because of the care she offered in the past two years. Caregiver quit after seeing care home colleagues stick tape on residents’ limbs and nipples, Hong Kong court hears “I am passing down this suspended sentence because of what the victim’s mother said in your mitigation, do you understand?” the magistrate said. “I understand,” Chan replied, her face turning red. She had promised in her own mitigation letter to behave and be more people-oriented in her future duties, with the magistrate reminding her to always bear that in mind. Chui convicted her last month of one count of common assault after finding that she had caused unnecessary pain to residents under her care. The court heard that she stuck tape onto the forehead, arms and toes of a mentally disabled resident on January 5 this year to wear him down so he could sleep earlier. She also admitted that she had stuck tape in a cross shape onto the nipples of another resident. “As a caregiver, you should respect their wishes and feelings,” Chui said on Friday. “You were clearly aware of his strong reactions and you made use of that to assault him. Your behaviour breached the trust placed upon you. You forgot your role as a parent in the care home.” But she later accepted that the present case may have been a one-off incident as the parent told the court in a four-page handwritten letter how impressed she was with Chan’s meticulous care. The mother said it was a difficult task to care for her son, who suffered from autism and marble bone disease on top of his severe mental disability. But Chan, the mother continued, was a passionate, loving and helpful carer who would make the extra effort to play with her son, patch up his clothes, cut his hair and even buy toys for him with her own money. She would also offer guidance when the mother felt helpless and inform the family whenever her son was ill or mentally unstable. The mother said she never blamed Chan for what she did, believing that she had already reflected on her actions while she was on remand. It is understood that Chan no longer works at Neighbour Advice-Action Council Harmony Manor in Ma On Shan.