The defence in the neglect and abuse trial over a young girl with Down syndrome told the court today that the testimony of a prosecution witness who said Bella had been splashed with hot water was mere fabrication.
The defence said the water filter in the home of the accused, Siti Bainun Ahd Razali, had been spoilt since March 2021 while Bella was allegedly abused between February and June of that year.
Lawyer Nur A’minahtul Mardiah, when cross-examining Yasmin Nahar Mahmood, the fifth prosecution witness, said the latter’s statement that Bella had been tied down before being splashed with hot water was a lie to the court.
“This is why Siti Bainun had to bring a Thermos back to her condonimium from Rumah Bonda, do you agree?” she said.
Yasmin however disagreed.
A’minahtul then said that the water filer had been out of order since March 11, 2021.
“The doctor said there were only two scars on Bella’s head,” she added. “The first of these could have been caused by Bella scratching an itch.
“The doctor said there was no evidence of dripping. So where did the story about being sprayed and splashed with hot water come from?”
“I saw it,” Yasmin replied.
The defence also questioned Yasmin’s statement that Bella had been forced to eat chilli nearly every day.
A’minahtul said none of Bella’s five medical reports had stated that Bella had injuries in her stomach or on her tongue due to eating overly spicy food.
She said Bella would have experienced significant side effects if she had really been forced to eat chillis.
She also said that Yasmin’s testimony was not included in the report or statement given to the police.
“This is a lie. Bella was never told to eat chillis because the medical report said that her tongue was not injured.”
The defence also claimed Yasmin had lied about Bella being gagged in order to prevent the neighbours from realising what was going on.
A’minahtul said the police had not confiscated any rope and that no statement to the effect had been made during the investigation, accusing Yasmin of attempting to mislead the court.
“The doctor said there were no indications on Bella’s mouth and cheeks,” she said.
“So this story about Bella being bound at her mouth was a lie and a fabrication, do you agree?”
But Yasmin again disagreed.
Siti Bainun, 30, has pleaded not guilty to two charges of neglecting and abusing the teenager to the point of the victim suffering injuries as well as emotional distress.
The offences were allegedly committed at a condominium in Wangsa Maju between February and June 2021, under Section 31(1)(a) of the Child Act 2001 which carries a jail sentence of up to 20 years, a fine of RM50,000 or both, upon conviction.
The trial continues this afternoon.