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Maid faces jail term for slapping baby twice

15 July 2017

By Vir B. Lumicao

A Filipina domestic worker was convicted on July 4 in Eastern Court of a charge of ill-treating her 18-month-old ward after admitting that she hit the toddler two times to get her to sleep.

“That’s no excuse for hitting the child,” Magistrate Bina Chainrai’s voice boomed as she rejected the defense lawyer’s remark, in mitigation, that Carmela Sotto slapped the baby as it was acting up in bed at 11:50 pm on June 3 while she still had work to do.

Sotto, 41, was charged with “ill-treatment or neglect by those in charge of child or young person.”

The maid fought back tears as Chainrai ordered her remanded in custody and set her sentencing on Jul 18 pending a background report.

Sotto, who was hired in January 2016 as a domestic helper of a Hong Kong couple at Queen’s Terrace in Sheung Wan, Central, was doing her house chores when the child’s parents decided to go out for entertainment shortly before 11:50 pm.

The couple left their baby girl in the care of Sotto.

On board the car, the female employer used her mobile phone to check the security camera monitoring the child’s condition and was shocked to see Sotto hitting the baby on the head and body.

The assault was reported to the police and the child was taken to Queen Mary Hospital for a check-up, but no apparent injury was observed, according to the prosecution report.

Sotto was arrested and, during a video-recorded interview, she admitted slapping the baby. She said she intended to tap the child gently to help her get sleep, but ended up slapping her because she was drowsy.

“Assault is a serious offense. The child was entrusted to you and you were in breach of that trust,” Chainrai said as she ordered Sotto remanded in jail.

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