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Employer renewed contract of DH who allegedly abused her son, court heard

03 August 2019

Kowloon City Court
By Vir B. Lumicao

“You employed a thief, a molester of your son, (but) renewed her contract.”

Thus said defense counsel Phil Chau sarcastically to the mother of an 11-year-old boy whose Filipina nanny faces charges of child abuse and indecent assault.

Chau was cross-examining the mother, Ms Li, in Kowloon City Court on Aug. 2, after the employer testified on the second day of the trial of  Angela Vivo that the family’s maid for more than six years had also stolen various amounts of money from them.

Li accused the Filipina helper of stealing thousands of dollars from the boy’s piggy bank, but Chau said the employer just made this up to discredit Vivo before the Labour Tribunal where she filed a claim for long service award on Oct 9 last year.

Vivo, who had earlier denied three charges of ill-treating and two of indecently assaulting the boy, identified only as “X”, giving evidence as the lone defense witness, denied the accusations.

The trial was delayed anew, this time by a missing hospital discharge summary that the mother claimed she had submitted to investigators but the police could not find.

Chau demanded the prosecution produce the document which shows the results of the alleged victim's medical examination on Sept 10, 2018, a day after the boy allegedly told his parents that the maid had touched his penis “many times".

Vivo had just left the family's house for a vacation that day so she could take care of her sick mother in the Philippines.

Earlier in court, the boy's father, Mr Kan testified that he saw a scalp injury on his son after he took him swimming on Jul 12, 2015, at YMCA. When asked about the injury, X reportedly said “cheche” had pulled his hair.

On Sept 7, 2017, the father saw a bruise on X’s arm. The boy said the maid had pinched him for stepping on her foot.

During cross-examination, Chau said Kan did not know Vivo had told the mother that she accidentally caused the bruise on X’s arm when she saved him from a  passing vehicle.

Chau got Kan to admit that contrary to his statement, he was not at the agency, Star Care Employment Agency, when Li and X met with Vivo there after the boy was found to have bruises on his arm and leg.

At her turn to testify, Li told the court she found out about X’s scalp injury through a photo her husband showed her. They reported it to the agency.

But during cross-examination, Li was asked why she waited for three years, before telling the police about the alleged assaults.

Li replied a Labour Tribunal officer told her to report them to the police only after she mentioned the assaults  in a claim hearing.

Chau asked her if she had the boy undergo medical exam, and Li replied “yes”. She said she gave the report to police, but the prosecutor said he did not have the report on his file.

The lawyer also grilled Li about whether she fired Vivo but she said the maid left on her own. Chau got her to admit Vivo just wanted to go home for two months to take care of her sick mother and was planning to return to her job because she needed money for her mother’s medication. 

The first day of the trial was used mainly to show two video recorded interviews of the boy in Cantonese on separate occasions, in Nov 2018 and January 2019. He also testified on video from another room in the courthouse.

Magistrate Wong adjourned the trial until Aug 8 to allow the police to investigate and locate the missing piece of evidence, or apply to Queen Elizabeth Hospital for a new one. Vivo's bail was extended under the same conditions until then.

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