SINGAPORE — While arguing with his pregnant girlfriend over what to do about their unborn baby, a man kicked and punched her abdomen.
The 24-year-old man was fined $3,500 on Monday (25 October) after he pleaded guilty to assaulting the woman. District Judge Wong Li Tein took into consideration that the woman had forgiven her boyfriend, whom she intends to marry by the end of the year.
“What stands out to me is the victim probably accepted that he did not harm her in the vicious sense," said the judge, adding that the assault arose out of a dispute. She took the victim's agreeing to marry the man as a clear sign of her forgiveness.
“That to me should be the greatest victory in this case, rather than any light sentence you might receive.”
The woman eventually aborted the baby.
Assaulted her during argument over baby
On 10 July last year, the couple visited a clinic for the woman, 24, to take a pregnancy test. The clinic found that the woman was nine weeks pregnant and asked if she wanted to continue the pregnancy or opt for abortion. The doctor gave her a deadline of 17 July 2020 as she would risk further medical complications if she went beyond the deadline.
On 14 July last year, the woman visited the man to stay overnight with him at his house. The next day, they got into a dispute about what to do about her pregnancy. The argument escalated, with both parties shouting at each other. The man then pushed her onto a bed, and assaulted her by punching and kicking her abdomen. He also punched her face multiple times intending to cause her hurt.
The man’s mother heard the commotion and stopped the dispute.
The woman called her friend, who later accompanied her at the house. She lodged a police report later that day.
She sought treatment for her injuries, which mainly consisted of bruises, tenderness and redness. A bedside ultrasound was performed on the victim where the fetus was visualised with an active heartbeat. As she was pregnant, the woman did not undergo a scan to confirm a possible upper jaw fracture.
The man’s lawyer, Terence Yeo, said a fine was appropriate for his client as the victim suffered minor injuries, that the offender did not show premeditation, and that the altercation was short.
His client had not set out to hurt or injure the baby, said the lawyer, adding that he was stressed by the pregnancy and reacted disproportionately.
The victim has since forgiven him and approached the police to drop the charges. The two are back in a relationship and plan to get married by the end of the year, Yeo said.
The judge asked the prosecution if a fine would be appropriate as the victim had forgiven the accused, and that a jail sentence would add to the victim's distress.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Pei Wei replied that the prosecution sought a jail term as the victim had been pregnant when hurt and had been in an intimate relationship with the accused. These had to be taken in consideration, even if the victim had forgiven the accused.
DJ Wong said that in cases of domestic disputes, deterrence is required because victims would be reluctant to seek help. She noted that the dispute arose “probably over pregnancy in which a decision had to be made in a short period of time”.
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