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Mother to serve 5 months for child neglect
A pregnant mother, expecting twins in September, screamed and cried yesterday after she was sentenced to five months’ imprisonment for abandoning five of her young children. The children, ages eight, seven, three, two and five months, are to remain wards of the State until the age of 16, ordered San Fernando Magistrate Alicia Chankar in sentencing the mother, Kezi Doughty. “They were living in abject squalor,” said Chankar as she ordered Doughty, 32, of King’s Wharf, San Fernando, to pay a $3,000 fine by March 30, 2013. She was the fourth mother to be charged in as many days for committing crimes against their children and the third to be sent to jail. Doughty is the mother of nine children, but four of them were previously taken away from her.
Charged last year with being a parent in charge of five children and wilfully abandoning them to cause injury to their health, Doughty had pleaded not guilty. However she was found guilty. Begging not to be sent to jail, Doughty began screaming, asking: “How I will go to jail and I pregnant?” Doughty said she was employed at the Forestry Division in Pleasantville and must attend clinic for her pregnancy. However, the magistrate assured her that she would be properly taken care of in prison. As Doughty was being escorted out of the court, she threw herself on the floor refusing to move. Eventually the police were able to get her on her feet and into a waiting police car. In passing sentence, Chankar said she visited the area Doughty lived in and saw that the children were living in a less than desirable environment. She said the children had rashes and were near naked; there was spoilt food in the house.
As a parent Doughty’s duty is to provide for her children and ensure their safety, Chankar said. Declaring that children must be protected at all costs, she said: “Children are tomorrow. We have to guide and protect them. You failed to do so.” Saying Doughty was not someone whom the system failed, she said: “We have to find out how we failed ourselves.” She said Doughty will be allowed to visit the children, but they will remain at the institution they are currently in, to ensure their well-being and safety. Doughty said on June 10 she left the younger children in the house, taking the eldest with her, for a swim. The police who were on patrol saw the two and three-year-old children alone in the road. They went to the house, where they found the seven-year-old and the five-month-old sleeping on a foam mattress. The mother was later charged by WPC St Louis.
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