SINGAPORE — A man who instructed his daughter to consume sleeping pills twice in a bid to get back at his estranged wife was jailed six months and two weeks on Wednesday (13 January).
The 40-year-old man’s instructions landed his 11-year-old daughter in the hospital, where she was warded for a month and a week in 2018.
In sentencing the father, District Judge Seah Chi-Ling noted that the injuries were not life threatening and that the 11-year-old girl recovered full consciousness within five-and-a-half hours of being admitted to the hospital. There were no side effects suffered by the young victim as well. However, he noted that the man was her father and that the drugs were administered twice over several hours.
None of the parties can be named due to a gag order.
The man’s lawyer, Christopher Bridges, told the court that the couple are still married although they reside in different flats. The man shares a home with his nine-year-old son from another woman, who also stays with them.
The victim, now 14, resides with her mother.
In mitigation, Bridges said that his client had committed the offences on the spur of the moment after an argument with his wife.
“The accused wanted to show (his wife) that their marital disputes had caused the victim to suffer stress, and that (the wife) was at fault for not properly taking care of her own child,” said Bridges.
The man had not realised the seriousness of his actions until he saw the victim become drowsy, added the lawyer.
The man had earlier pleaded guilty to one count of perverting the course of justice, one count of ill treating his daughter and one count of using abusive words on a police officer in an unrelated incident. Three other charges were considered for his sentencing.
Before the offences, the victim stayed with her father. On 7 April 2018, both parents had quarrelled over the phone.
After the quarrel, the father made the victim retrieve a bottle of sleeping pills that had been prescribed to his mother. The pills contained Amitriptyline, which was considered a poison under the Schedule of Poisons Act. He then asked her to eat the pills.
The girl ate six pills then went out to the playground.
While there, the man told his daughter he wanted to show her mother that their arguments had caused the girl to be stressed, and that the mother was at fault for not properly caring for her child.
The father asked the girl to consume several more pills, and she did so.
The girl soon felt weak and sleepy and later lost consciousness. The man and his son then took the girl to her mother’s flat. While en-route, the father called 995 for assistance.
The trio reached the mother’s flat at about 3.45am on 8 April. When the mother opened the door to the flat, she saw her daughter lying on the floor just outside the door.
“The accused then said to (the mother) that she would be answerable if anything happened to the victim,” Deputy Public Prosecutor Joshua Phang told the court.
An ambulance arrived soon after and conveyed the girl to the hospital. A medical report issued later diagnosed the girl with an overdose of Amitriptyline. She had arrived at the hospital drowsy. A police report was lodged via the Singapore Civil Defence Force. It stated that a 12-year-old girl took pills and attempted to jump at a Woodlands flat.
She was warded for a month and a week. During her hospital stay, she was instructed by her father to lie to the police that she had voluntarily consumed the pills to commit suicide.
Following his instructions, the girl told a police officer that she ate the pills as she felt that no one in her family cared for her, and that she had tried to kill herself. The police officer investigating the girl for attempted suicide recorded her words in a statement while her father was beside her.
On 16 June 2018, the police told the girl that no further action will be taken against her. However, the father’s actions came to light in August 2018 when the girl spoke to social workers about the incident.
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