A single mother pleaded guilty Tuesday to abandoning her mentally handicapped 13-year-old daughter, although she claimed the act of leaving her in a restaurant was not premeditated, Ming Pao Daily reported Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the defendant’s lawyer complained that police investigators had taken topless photos of the girl, who had no apparent injuries, without giving a reason.
The court heard that the woman took the second of her three children home on Nov. 21 from the children’s home where the girl lived.
Two days later, they went to a cha chaan teng on their way back to the children’s home.
There the woman told her daughter she needed to go to the restroom, but she never came back.
The mother, said she had been under a lot of pressure from neighbors, who often scolded the mentally retarded girl for doing strange things, including calling the police and lying that someone had jumped from the building.
The defense lawyer told the court the mother had not planned in advance to leave the girl behind but only acted on impulse.
The lawyer presented pictures of the woman’s messy home and said she needs social assistance.
After seeing the pictures, the magistrate asked why she could not keep her home clean, since she had been receiving support from the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance scheme, and all she had to do was take good care of her youngest child.
Based on the facts, the magistrate considered her situation serious and said it was lucky that an accident had not happened to the abandoned girl.
The woman, who cannot be named, to protect her daughter’s privacy, will be sentenced on June 23.
Meanwhile, the defense lawyer told the magistrate that police took several topless photos of the girl during their investigations.
With the consent of the girl and staff from the children’s home, even though she had no apparent injuries, police took several topless photos, including one showing the front of the girl’s breast.
The defense lawyer said it was an insult to the girl and wondered how many people had browsed through the photos, which were kept in the police computers.
The lawyer asked the court to order police to delete the images from the computers.
The magistrate agreed that what the police did was strange.
However, he did not issue a court order to the police to delete the photos but only asked them to do so, saying the police did not take the pictures with obscene intent.
The prosecutor said the photos were for police internal use only but admitted that the police had neglected the girl’s privacy when they took the pictures.
The matter would be the subject of a remark in the prosecution’s report, the prosecutor said.
A police spokesman said the photo files will be deleted after the judicial process is completed.
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