SINGAPORE: A maid who was convicted in April of a reduced murder charge for killing her employer had her conviction set aside on Monday (Sep 21), after choosing to pursue the defence of diminished responsibility.
As her new instructions would be qualifying her plea of guilt, the conviction was set aside for the court to hear new arguments on diminished responsibility.
For a defence of diminished responsibility to stand, the accused must be suffering from a specific abnormality of mind that substantially impaired her mental responsibility for causing the deaths.
This means that the trial for 28-year-old Indonesian Daryati will continue, with the defence expected to open its case in October. She will be convicted or acquitted only at the end of the trial.
She faces one count of murder by slashing and stabbing Madam Seow Kim Choo multiple times on the night of Jun 7, 2016, in Mdm Seow’s Telok Kurau home.
A second charge of attempting to murder Mdm Seow’s husband will be stood down or set aside for the time being.
According to an agreed statement of facts that Daryati still acknowledges, she worked for Mdm Seow and her family for two months before growing homesick and longing for her lover in Hong Kong.
Despite being treated well by her employers, Daryati wanted to return to Indonesia and start a business, and wrote in her diary that she had to “be brave” and carry out her plan quickly.
“My employer’s family is my target. DEATH!!!” she wrote in an entry on May 12, 2016, a few weeks before the incident.
Daryati hid weapons around the house and roped in another maid into her scheme without fully divulging it.
On Jun 7, 2016, she confronted Mdm Seow in her bedroom, dragging her into a toilet and stabbing and slashing her repeatedly. She left almost 100 wounds on the woman.
When Mdm Seow’s husband opened the toilet door with a screwdriver, Daryati attacked him while armed with two knives.
Despite being stabbed in the neck, Mdm Seow’s husband overpowered Daryati and she was later arrested. Both he and Daryati were taken to hospital, but Mdm Seow died of multiple wounds to her head and neck.
A psychiatric report from the Institute of Mental Health found that Daryati had been suffering from adjustment disorder in the two weeks leading up to the murder.
For committing murder under Section 300c, Daryati could be sentenced to death or life imprisonment. She cannot be caned as she is a woman.
However, the prosecution confirmed on Monday that they would not be submitting for the death sentence, if Daryati still stood by the agreed statement of facts.
Daryati is expected to take the stand for the defence’s case next month.