Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

Lawyers for man on trial for murder of 5-year-old daughter seek to impeach wife as prosecution witness

SINGAPORE — Taking the stand in the High Court on Tuesday (Sept 19) as a prosecution's witness, the stepmother of a five-year-old girl who was allegedly murdered by her father offered no new information into the circumstances surrounding her death, answering every question she was asked with, "I cannot remember". 

Lawyers for man on trial for murder of 5-year-old daughter seek to impeach wife as prosecution witness
Follow us on Instagram and Tiktok, and join our Telegram channel for the latest updates.
  • The trial continues for a father who allegedly murdered his five-year-old daughter whom he had locked in a toilet 
  • His wife faces impeachment after defence counsels filed an application at the start of court proceedings on Sept 19
  • The lawyers pointed to three inconsistencies in her oral testimony in July against the statements she gave to police in 2017 and 2019
  • At the witness stand, she did not give new information as she continually said that she could not remember the facts
  • The trial is set to continue with the wife to be interrogated

SINGAPORE — Taking the stand in the High Court on Tuesday (Sept 19) as a prosecution's witness, the stepmother of a five-year-old girl who was allegedly murdered by her father offered no new information into the circumstances surrounding her death, answering every question she was asked with, "I cannot remember". 

The woman, 32, is the wife of the 43-year-old man who is facing a single charge of murder for allegedly assaulting his daughter to death in August 2017 after the girl refused to exercise.

Both the woman and the man are in the midst of divorce proceedings and cannot be named due to a court order to protect the identities of the surviving children.

In a roughly six-hour-long hearing, the father's defence lawyers began a process to impeach the woman as a prosecution witness, saying how her previous oral testimony given in July had been inconsistent with what she had told the police in 2017, particularly on these three points:

  • She testified that she found out her stepdaughter had died before she went to pick up her other children from childcare, but in police statements, she said that she was told this information by her husband after she came back home from after picking up the other children
  • She testified that there was once when she would scold and hit the girl because she made a mess in the kitchen, but in police statements, she said that she did not recall anytime when the stepchildren made a mess
  • She testified that a closed-circuit television (CCTV) was no longer in the toilet on Aug 12, 2017, the day the husband took his daughter's body to Singapore General Hospital, but in police statements, she said that she did not notice whether the CCTV was still there

A witness is impeached only when it is proven that his or her testimonies are inconsistent with former statements or evidence presented in court. 

The witness will then be considered less credible and his or her testimony will be given less weight by the judge.

'I CANNOT REMEMBER'

During the hearing, the woman was cross-examined by defence counsel Mervyn Cheong who asked her a number of questions in relation to the statement that his client had made about the events of Aug 10, 2017.

When asked if she remembered the time she fed the stepchildren or whether 8pm was their bed time, the woman replied that she cannot remember.

She gave the same answer to a number of other questions, which included those pertaining to a discussion to send the stepchildren away and a suggestion from her husband to feed them a minimum of three meals a day.

Before her death, the girl and her younger brother were made to live naked in the bathroom of their one-room flat and were only let out for meals, or when either their father or stepmother needed to use the toilet.

The man also installed a CCTV camera in the toilet so that he and his wife could monitor them.

On the night of Aug 10, 2017, the girl's stepmother tried to get her to perform some exercises but she refused.

Her father then decided to "handle the situation" by hitting her on the head and face. It was only on the evening of the next day that he realised she had died.

The court heard that the girl was severely malnourished when her lifeless body was taken to the hospital, and she was found to be covered head-to-toe in bruises, abrasions, wounds and scars.

The trial is set to continue on Wednesday morning with the wife again taking the witness stand.

Related topics

court crime murder

Read more of the latest in

Advertisement

Advertisement

Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.