A couple was sentenced Monday, July 13th for the scalding of their 5-year-old son which ultimately led to his death on October 23, 2016 in what prosecutors said was "one of the worst cases of child abuse."
The child, which has not been identified in order to protect the identities of his siblings, was reported to have been scalded four times between October 15th and October 22nd. He was only taken for medical attention after he collapsed seven hours after the last incident.
His body was reportedly 75% covered in scald injuries, and showed “classic signs” of abuse according to the prosecution.
During the court proceedings, it was revealed that the couple had abused the boy in other ways as well including confining him to a pet cage, used for a pet cat, that was approximately 3 feet long, 2 feet wide and just over 2 feet tall. At the time of the boy's death, he was 3.5 feet tall leading prosecutors to conclude that this treatment was "extremely cruel."
Ridzuan Mega Abdul Rahman, 28, and his wife, Azlin Arujunah, 28, were both acquitted of a murder charge in June and then subsequently convicted of a lesser charge of causing grievous hurt by dangerous means. The prosecution has already filed an appeal concerning the acquittal.
Shortly after the boy's birth, he had been fostered out to a family friend and was only returned in 2015 after neither parent would sign a request from the foster parent to agree to a change of pre-school to one more conveniently located.
"It was Ridzuan who introduced a culture of family violence into this family and home, through his initial abuse of Azlin. It was also Ridzuan who first started the violence against the child in July, with pliers," Justice Thean said.
Both defense teams seemed to try and argue that the other parent should be held in greater responsibility for the abuse the boy suffered, but Justice Thean said, “Both parents have joint and equal responsibility for the well-being of their children; both condoned each other’s actions.”
Ridzuan has been sentenced to 27 years in jail and the maximum of 24 stokes with the cane. Azlin as been sentenced to 27 years as well, but due to laws stating that women cannot be caned, will serve an additional year in jail.