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Maid jailed for 4 months for ill-treating baby

04 July 2019

By Vir B. Lumicao
Velasquez pleaded guilty to the ill-treatment
at West Kowloon court
A Filipina helper has been sentenced to four months in jail for ill-treating her 10-month-old male ward after her employer reneged on a promise to let her go on holiday in the Philippines.

Joan F. Velasquez, 34, was ordered jailed by West Kowloon Magistrate Ada Yim on Jul 2. The Filipina got a discounted sentence after pleading guilty to the charge and for having  clear record.

She admitted swinging the baby fiercely for several seconds on Feb 2 this year out of anger at her employer for taking back a promise to let her go on a holiday.

Her lawyer said Velasquez, who was hired by Lai Shuk-fan in December 2017, had booked her Feb 13 flight as early as last November in anticipation of the promised vacation.
The offense was discovered when Lai reviewed the CCTV recording at her house  at The Bellagio in Tsuen Wan two days after the incident.

The maid was seen swinging the baby from right to left and up and down for several seconds in an apparent fit of anger. The baby was cradled in her arm with his head unsupported and bent backward.

Lai immediately confronted Velasquez, who denied abusing the child, saying she was merely playing with him.
The baby was sent to Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where Dr Lam Cheuk-san, a pediatrician, said in a medical report the child was admitted to the emergency department for repeated vomiting and suspected shaken baby syndrome.

His examination showed no sign of wound or damage, and x-rays showed the baby’s abdomen and chest, as well as head, sustained no injury.

But a pathologist, Dr Foo Ka-chun, said the baby’s neck muscles were very weak and could have sustained damage from the violent shaking or swinging.

In mitigation, the defense lawyer said Velasquez, who has two sons aged 10 and 2 and a daughter aged 8, had worked as domestic helper for two years in Kuwait, and just over a year with Lai.  She said her client was remorseful.

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