FDH guilty of assaulting bed-ridden ward
Saying it was “heart-wrenching” to watch on CCTV, a judge in Sai Wan Ho this afternoon (March 7) sentenced a Filipino domestic worker to four months in prison for assaulting her bed-ridden ward.
Eastern Deputy Magistrate Selma Masood found defendant Ivy B.R., 39, guilty of common assault while dismissing the additional charge of indecent assault filed against her.
Masood said CCTV footage showed Ivy assaulting her 60-year-old paralyzed ward when she slapped his left thigh, hit his right hand with a plastic chair, pulled his penis in an “exaggerated” manner, and shoved his right hand, which had feces, near his mouth.
“Doing that to a bed-ridden elderly man is not human nature,” Judge Masood said, noting that her ward could no longer speak to complain after he had a stroke in December 2016.
“Tiredness, frustration, or exhaustion is not an excuse and it is wrong to vent on an elderly, bed-ridden man,” she added.
The prosecution said the incident happened on the morning of June 30, 2018 in a flat along King’s Road in North Point.
The ward’s wife called the police after she watched the CCTV footage. She had the CCTV camera installed after her husband complained, when he could still speak, that the domestic worker bullied and fed him feces—an accusation Ivy denied.
The prosecution also charged the domestic worker with indecent assault for pulling his penis, adding that it had a one-centimeter red mark.
Judge Masood, however, dismissed the charge due to doubts as to how the penis got the red mark. Ivy had testified that her ward’s lower body also had similar red marks.
“The medical report did not mention how (the red mark) came about. Perhaps the red mark was due to the diaper or he scratched himself,” the magistrate said.
Ivy had also testified in her defense that she had no intention of hurting the old man, who eventually died in August last year, and that she only “tapped” his right hand with the plastic chair to remind him not to touch his feces.
Ivy and the old man’s wife had told the court that they had to tie his right hand to his bed when they slept because he would usually spread his feces on his bed.
The old man’s wife also admitted in court that, even in her presence, Ivy would sometimes “lightly hit” her husband’s right hand to remind him not to touch his feces.
However, Judge Masood ruled that Ivy’s actions shown on the CCTV footage constituted the crime of common assault.
Ivy’s lawyer asked for leniency, noting that the domestic worker had not used overwhelming force against the old man and he had no other “notable injury” except the red mark on his penis.
“The overall force was not really too much, in my submission,” he said, before asking for a suspended jail sentence.
However, the magistrate said that the case had aggravating circumstances—the crime was a breach of trust case and the victim was old and bed-ridden—and so a jail sentence of four months was meted out against the defendant.
Ivy started working as a domestic worker in Hong Kong in 2008. She is married to an Indian, who is an asylum-seeker, and they have a son, who is in the Philippines.