A babysitter who shoved a green chilli into the mouth of a toddler, causing him to choke to death, today returned to jail after the Court of Appeal enhanced her 18-month sentence to 10 years.
Justice Yaacob Md Sam, who chaired a three-man bench, described the sentence imposed by the high court on Asmarani Ghazali as manifestly inadequate.
Allowing the prosecution’s appeal for the jail term to be increased, Yaacob said the high court judge erred when he took into consideration Asmarani’s interest more than that of the public.
The Court of Appeal panel, which also comprised justices Zabariah Mohd Yusof and P Ravinthran, ordered Asmarani to serve the enhanced sentence from the date of her arrest on June 21 last year.
The 40-year-old woman was released from prison on June 21 this year after serving her initial term.
Deputy public prosecutor Mohd Zain Ibrahim asked that the court impose a deterrent sentence, arguing that the act committed against 2½-year-old Muhammad Afif Kamarol Azli simply because the boy had been whimpering was “too much”.
“The child just wanted attention because he was unwell that morning.”
A post-mortem report stated choking as the cause of death.
Asmarani, a mother of three, was initially charged with murder, but was then given an alternative charge under the Child Act 2001 for mistreating the toddler, to which she pleaded guilty.
She committed the offence at a house in Taman Tuanku Ja’afar, Seremban, two days before Hari Raya Aidilfitri, between 9.30am and 10am on June 13 last year.
According to the facts of the case, Afif continued to cry despite Asmarani’s efforts to pacify him. She later told the child to throw his diaper into a dustbin in the kitchen.
Afif did as he was told but continued to whimper as he was feeling sick.
Asmarani then took the chilli from the refrigerator, broke it into half, and stuffed it into the boy’s mouth to quieten him.
After Afif showed difficulty breathing, Asmarani, accompanied by her husband and one of her own kids, brought the boy to two clinics. She was advised to take him to hospital instead.
Asmarani’s lawyer, Hanif Hassan, earlier submitted that the 18-month jail term imposed by the High Court was appropriate, adding that the judge took into consideration all aspects in the case.
He told reporters that his client has instructed him to file an appeal against today’s decision at the Federal Court.