A 38-year-old Filipina who suffered from schizophrenia was convicted at the Eastern Magistrates’ Court on Aug. 30 of ill-treating her baby by leaving him on a street.
Angelita S L, an asylum seeker, was found guilty on one count of “ill-treatment or neglect by those in charge of a child or a young person,” hongknongnews.com.hk reported.
Magistrate Cheng Lim-chi based his ruling on the testimony of a psychiatrist from Queen Mary Hospital who testified that, while the Filipino woman was mentally ill, she was “aware” of what was happening during the incident and could have chosen not to leave her child behind.
The court heard it was the second time the woman had left her baby.
Judge Cheng said he accepted the defendant thought the baby was the devil, but added that she was conscious at the time and she chose to leave the baby unattended and left him beside a rubbish bin.
On Oct. 19, 2017, two passers-by alerted police that a baby had been found on the pavement at 280 Queen’s Road East in Wan Chai on Hong Kong Island. The woman was found and arrested shortly after, allegedly hiding a short distance away.
One of the two witnesses, a South Asian woman, had earlier noticed the woman was not wearing any shoes and she and the baby were crying at the scene. The South Asian woman asked if she was okay and the Filipina woman replied she was fine, after a pause of 10 seconds.
The two witnesses then followed her and saw the mother put down her baby beside a trash bin nearby Tung Wah Centenary Square Garden and walk away.
Doctor Michael Wong, a psychiatrist at Queen Mary’s Hospital who examined Angelita, said she was “hearing voices and seeing ghosts, visions,” adding that he confirmed the defendant was suffering “psychotic symptoms” during the time of the incident. However, he explained that the defendant did not suffer from “delusional control.”
Given the doctor’s testimony, the judge ruled that the woman was not insane at the time of the incident. The defense lawyer said the defendant was married with two grown-up children in the Philippines. The baby was born out of wedlock but her family back home was prepared to adopt him as one of their own, the lawyer added.
The sentence will be determined pending psychiatric reports.