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DH convicted of ill-treatment, but not of sexual abuse of ward

16 September 2019


By Vir B. Lumicao

Vivo's lawyer says he plans to appeal the verdict, saying
the magistrate had been 'selective' in his decision 
A Filipina domestic worker was found guilty in Kowloon City Court on Thursday, Sept 12, of two charges of ill-treating her boy ward but was acquitted of another count of ill-treatment and two charges of indecently assaulting the now 11-year-old.

The 51-year-old defendant, Angela Vivo, was immediately taken into custody following the verdict. Magistrate Raymond Wong set down the sentencing on Sept 26 to consider a background report on Vivo that defense lawyer Phil Chau requested.

But the magistrate turned down Chau’s request for a report on the impact of the whole episode on the victim, identified only as “X.”
The magistrate convicted Vivo on the first and third charges of “assault or ill-treatment of those in charge of a child”, saying the prosecution had proven her guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

In the first charge, Vivo, who had taken care of X since he was three years old, was found to have pulled the boy’s hair so hard in July 2016 that his scalp was injured.

The victim’s father noticed X’s scalp was bleeding the day after the assault, as he was shampooing his son’s hair after a swimming class. The father took a photo of the injury and sent it to Vivo’s recruitment agent.

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In the other assault, Vivo was found guilty of pinching X so strongly in his left arm that the body was left with a “very painful” bruise. The incident on Dec 7, 2018.

In her evidence, Vivo said the injury resulted from her grabbing the boy’s upper arm to save him from being hit by a big truck near the Mong Kok fire station. She said X ran on the road after his mother refused to buy him a toy.

But Wong rejected her claim, noting that Vivo’s grasp on the boy must have been so powerful it left fingernail marks on his arm
But Vivo was acquitted of a third assault charge which stemmed from the boy’s claim that the maid had hit his arm when he accidentally stepped on her toes.

The magistrate also acquitted the helper on the two charges of indecent assault, in which the boy accused him of touching his penis each time she washed him daily for two years until September 2018. But he gave no reason for his decision.
The boy’s mother told the court she reported the alleged indecent assaults a day after Vivo left for Manila on Sept 9 that year to take care of her sick mother for two months.

The boy’s mother, in reply to Chau’s question during cross examination why she reported those alleged indecent assaults to police only after the maid had left, said a Labour Tribunal “judge” told her to do so after she mentioned the issue in a claims hearing.

During the trial, Chau questioned the motive of Vivo’s employers, noting that at the time they made the allegations against their maid, she had filed a claim at the Tribunal for long service pay from her employers.

Chau said outside court he was planning to appeal the verdicts because the magistrate had been very selective in considering the evidence. But he said he would wait until after the sentencing.    
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