The teenage mother of a little girl seen smoking a spliff in a widely circulated video late last year has been fined $1000.
The now 19-year-old convict was charged with failing to provide care and protection to a child in October 2020.
An investigation was launched after a disturbing video of her two-year-old daughter coughing from smoking what appeared to be a spliff, while in the presence of an adult, surfaced.
As a result, the defendant was arrested and the video was extracted from her phone.
In the video, the toddler is seen holding a lit joint in her hands and coughing from smoking what appeared to be marijuana.
A woman who seems to be recording the video is heard asking the child, “Wah you ah do dey?” and laughing.
The child was removed from the care of the young mother, as ordered by the court in November 2020 when the defendant appeared in St John’s Magistrates’ Court before Chief Magistrate Joanne Walsh.
Before being sentenced yesterday, the defendant’s lawyer Pete McKnight put forward a forceful argument, pleading for the Magistrate to be “as clement as can be” by placing his client on probation.
He said that the teenager, “had the unfortunate incident of becoming a teenage mother [and motherhood] is not for the faint of heart who do not have proper guidance or structure.”
McKnight continued saying that the child is so dear to the defendant that she is experiencing “severe trauma” and as such “she is contrite and has pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.”
He also indicated that the grandmother of the child recently died and the child was unable to attend the funeral nor did the defendant see the child on Mother’s Day.
Chief Magistrate Joanne Walsh shut down the latter arguments and stated that she is not concerned about the defendant’s access to the child because she caused herself to be in this predicament and therefore has to prove to social services that she is fit to raise the child.
The Chief Magistrate then reminded the attorney that the maximum for such an offense is a fine of $20,000 or 3 years’ imprisonment.
She indicated that probation was off the table because she wanted the teenager to understand that “what she did was terrible.”
The Chief Magistrate therefore fined her and gave her until May 31st to pay.
Should she fail to pay, she will spend 6 months behind bars.