A 17-year-old girl who is the mother of a 15-month-old baby is being given another chance to continue her education and improve her ability to care for her child.
On Tuesday, at the Serious Offence Court, Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne deferred sentencing of the teen, who was nabbed at the Grenadines Wharf in Kingstown one day earlier with 134 grammes (4.7oz) of marijuana in each cup of her bra and in her panties.
The teen was busted by a female officer, who took her to a security booth for a more comprehensive search after having found inside of the teen’s bag a pair of scissors with ganja resin on it around 11 a.m.
After finding the marijuana in the teen’s bra, the officer asked her if she had anything else to declare and the teen removed from her underwear another transparent plastic bag containing loose plant-like material resembling cannabis.
When cautioned, the teen told the police officer, “Ah my weed.”
She was arrested and later charged.
In mitigation, the teen said that while the charge said that she had the drug with intent to supply; it was for her own use, adding that she smokes marijuana.
The teen told the court that she was 17 and was no longer in school as she has a 15-month-old child and got pregnant when she was in form 3.
She told the court that she was working in Union Island at “Stress Bar”.
Asked how she thinks her mother feels about what she had done, she told the court “disappointed”.
The teen, however, added that “disappointed” was not the most appropriate word but it was the best word she could come up with.
The teen told the court that when she is in Union Island, her mother would take the baby to day-care.
The chief magistrate told the teen that the development was an unfortunate one, adding that while she had gotten pregnant she could still get her life back on track.
Browne said that she did not know if the teen wanted to continue her education, adding that the situation in which she had found herself did not so indicate.
“You have gone so far away, as if you want to be on your own, give your mommy a little trouble.”
The teen said that while her mom works, she does not want to pressure her “to deal with me. Ah rather deal with meself”.
On hearing this, the chief magistrate said that is what she was trying to avoid saying.
“But you’re saying it and it coming out. There is no pressure at all on mommy to deal with it. You want to have a little more free course because I am convinced mommy’s priority is education — the nature of her profession, the nature of who she is. So don’t try that. This is about you; your little rebellious behaviour. I am sure that is the case there.”
The teen admitted that that was the case.
iWitness News understands that the teen’s mother is a health care professional.
iWitness News is withholding the teen’s name in an effort to not negatively affect the second chance that the court is attempting to give to her.
The chief magistrate told the teen that despite the disappointment, her mother still has to deal with the reality.
She told the teen that one academic year has passed, another has begun and she is working in an environment that is not conducive to her further development.
“Sometimes we want to have our own way and this is what it causes. Disappointment is an understatement.”
The magistrate told the teen that she is young and has a lot of potential, but sometimes young people take a lot of risk without realising the consequences.
“And for 134 grammes, to get a criminal record.”
The chief magistrate then stood the matter down to consider a course of action.
When the matter was recalled, the chief magistrate asked Senior Prosecutor Adolphus Delplesche to make a submission on sentencing.
The prosecutor told the court that he knows the young lady well and would like to see her back on the straight and narrow.
He said he was close to her and all of a sudden her life seems to have spiralled out of control.
“But we still communicate. Her mother is outside — who I know has been trying what we would call her utmost best to get [her daughter] back on the straight and narrow.”
The magistrate said, “And she works at Stress in Union Island… I know the circumstance of The Stress Out Bar, which is not a pleasant place. We had a locus visit there.”
The magistrate then said she was not going to sentence the teen then, but would put some conditions in place that must be satisfied by Friday, when the sentencing will take place.
Browne ordered the teen to report, along with a parent, to the Ministry of Education with a view to recommencing her secondary education. The teen must enrol in parenting classes at SVG Save The Children Fund (Vinsave), a local charity.
She ordered the teen to report to court, along with a parent, on Friday when the court will receive a report and sentence her for her crime.
“You are unaware of the many dangers,” she told the teen, one of two teens, the other being a 16-year-old male student who pleaded guilty to criminal offences that day. Both were given opportunities to get their lives back on track.