PETALING JAYA: A former teacher at a private kindergarten was charged again in the Ipoh sessions court today with neglecting a four-year-old boy who drowned in a pool in April last year.
SP Esther Christina, 59, maintained her not guilty plea after the charge was read out to her before Judge Ainul Shahrin Mohamad, Bernama reported.
On July 12 last year, Esther had been charged with the same offence in the magistrates’ court in Ipoh. However, she was given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal by magistrate Siti Nora Sharif.
According to the charge sheet, Esther, who had custody of V Thanes Nair, was alleged to have left the child without supervision and care for an unreasonable period of time.
The offence was allegedly committed at the Centro Club swimming pool in Bandar Baru Sri Klebang, Ipoh, at 10.20am on April 17, 2023.
The charge was framed under Section 33(1)(a) of the Child Act 2001, which provides a maximum fine of RM20,000 or imprisonment of up to five years, or both, upon conviction.
Deputy public prosecutor Evangelin Simon Silvaraj offered bail of RM15,000 with additional conditions for the accused to refrain from approaching the victim’s family or witnesses and to report to a police station once every month.
Lawyer Gary Xavier, representing the accused, urged that the bail be maintained at RM2,500 as before, with one surety, on the grounds that the accused, who underwent brain cancer surgery, is currently receiving follow-up treatment and taking anti-seizure medication.
He added that the accused, who is now unemployed, is supporting her 80-year-old mother and had given her cooperation during the investigation.
The court allowed bail of RM5,000 with one surety and fixed March 21 for re-mention.
In April 2023, it was reported that the boy had fallen into a swimming pool close to the kindergarten on his first day, and died six days later.