Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne has ordered Child Protection Services to look into a case where three youths, aged 19, 16, and 7 are living alone at Old Montrose while their mother lives in Byera.
The mother of the children appeared before the magistrate at the Serious Offences Court, on Tuesday, one day after her eldest son, Michael/Olan Lyscott, 19, pleaded guilty to assaulting his 16-year-old brother, occasioning actual bodily harm.
Lyscott, who is on a one-year bond that expires on June 20, pelted a glass bottle at his younger brother, striking him in the head, for failing to get their 7-year-old brother ready for school.
When the mother appeared before the chief magistrate as summoned, she told the court that she is “back and forth” between Byera, where she farms, and Old Montrose.
She said that the 7-year-old child is also “back and forth” between both communities, adding that if she does not return to Old Montrose, the child would say he wants to go and meet his brothers.
She told the court that she has someone who assist her with the children when she is not around. The mother denied that Lyscott is responsible for getting the 7-year-old for school, as he told the court the previous day.
“He doesn’t do anything for him. I do everything for him,” the mother told the court.
She said that the person who looks after the younger child is an elderly resident of Old Montrose, whom she trusts with the child.
The mother told the court that she pays rent for the house in which the children lives and the person, who she did not identify, looks over them. She said that she does not pay rent in Byera.
Further, she told the court about the incident that resulted her 7-year-old son being transferred from the school he attended in Kingstown to Byera.
Tech mother told the court that the child was in school and had travelled from Montrose to Byera that morning.
After hearing the woman, the chief magistrate said:
“This is an opportunity for me to call the Ministry of Mobilisation and have the child removed from your care. You can’t make it. It is not fair. He is out there (Byera) all by himself.”
She noted that he child is not from Byera and would not be a familiar face that other villagers could recognise and associate with a family.
“If he has tendency like the brother, the sea is there … This ain’t making any sense at all.”
The mother told the court that she provides food for the children.
The chief magistrate said she knows that the teens are “a handful”, she having encountered the mother in court because of their run-ins with the law.
“This one is handful,” Browne said, referring to the defendant.
“The other one is a handful,” she further stated, referring to the 16-year-old.
At this point, the defendant told the court that there is a lady who is around his mother who tells them (the children) that she (the lady) does not like them.
He said that when the woman’s children come around they show them love but the woman does not show them (Lyscott and his brothers) any love.
The mother told the court that the 7-year-old is doing well in school in Byera.
But the chief magistrate said that having the child commute from Montrose to Byera and back for school cannot work.
“I am going to call in Ministry of Mobilisation.”
Lyscott told the court that he would be glad if his brother is sent to live with his father.
However, the mother said that the child’s father disowned (denied paternity) when the child was small.
The mother started to wipe her eyes as if she was crying.
“Listen , parenting ain’t easy. You have your hands full because these boys are a handful. You are going to plant, this is probably your mental health break; you are going in the farm.
“A child so small have to lave town everyday to go to school in Byera. He is learning the ways from them (his older brother), which is not a good thing right now.”
Browne said that maybe when Lyscott is older he would settle down, but said that the circumstances in which they lives now is not ideal.
“Who ain’t pulling knife in house; who ain’t beating with board. You know all this does be going on?” the chief magistrate asked the mother.
“Yes. I get phone calls,” she responded, saying that she talks to the children whenever these incident occur.
The chief magistrate informed the mother that her son had breached his bond and must pay EC$2,500 in order to avoid a six-month prison terms, in addition to the sentence of the court for assaulting his brother.
“These are the sentences he is facing. So when he is in prison, it’s only the 16- and 7-year-old in house. They are very vulnerable,” Browne pointed out.
On hearing this, the defendant, as he had done the previous day, said that he did not want to go to prison again and asked to be placed on a three-year bond.
The chief magistrate pointed out to Lyscott that he was unable to keep the peace for one year but was asking the court to order him to do so for three.
She further told him that he does not control his temper with his brothers.
The defendant said that he walks away sometimes.
“I am going to call mobilisation and I want them to verify that the little one is not in a disadvantageous position. So if it is that you are unable to take care of him probably…
“I hope that for your sake that when they assess his report card says he is going well.”
The chief magistrate said that the intervention of the state authorities is necessary.
“Because if something happens, you will be over there,” she said, referring to the defendant’s box.
No choice but to activate bond
Meanwhile, when asked to make representation on behalf of the Crown, prosecutor Station Sergeant of Police Renrick Cato said that the court had no choice but to activate the bond against Lyscott.
“When people are placed on a bond and breach it, it is a form of disrespect of the court order. By his own words yesterday, he said he thought the bond was up,” Cato said.
The chief magistrate reminded Lyscott of the steps she had taken to try to help him when he was a student and appeared before the court in September 2019, charged with taking someone’s car without their consent and crashing it.
Back then, the court ordered a social welfare report on the teen, who was 16 and in Form 2.
“I was trying to save you from a criminal record,” Browne said, adding that Lyscott felt back then that his father was too strict.
“I knew you were young and couldn’t see the future.”
Lyscott told the court that he was hoping to migrate.
Browne asked him if migrating would mean obtaining a police record — which would reflect his criminal convictions, which include assaulting his brother.
“I knew you would have wanted to go away. But in the moment when you are following friends and smoking–” she said.
Cato reiterated that Lyscott has said that he thought the bond had expired.
“Because he thought the bond was up in May means he can commit an offence in June. There is always reasons why someone is bonded. It is giving you an opportunity to redeem yourself,” the prosecutor said.
He suggested that the bond be activated but that a prison sentence, suspended for two years, be imposed in connection with the most recent assault charge.
“And let him be responsible for his own destination whenever he comes out of prison. Let him know that it is he who is sending himself to prison. You are on a bond, you breach it, you go to prison.”
The chief magistrate said that she knows that then Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett must have thought long, having heard the circumstances in which the youth lived and that is why he formulated the bond in the way in which he did.
“Are you inclined to have the court not activate the bond?” the chief magistrate asked the prosecutor.
“I have seen it before but I do not know under which section,” Cato responded.
Browne told him it could be done under judicial discretion.
Lyscott then told the court that he did not want to go to prison, saying he wants “to be there for my youth”.
The defendant then told the court that he is having a child with a Form 5 student at a secondary school in Kingstown.
He said that the student is writing her secondary-school exit exam and showed him “a paper” the week before saying that she is pregnant.
“That must be news to the mother,” Cato said.
“That might be news to him too,” the chef magistrate commented, referring to Lyscott. “One last ditch effort [to avoid prison]
“You are a youth. You are in no position to father or mentor anybody. So try to get that out of your head. I do not believe, either. So let me just say that,” Browne told Lyscott.
“And you coming putting these things is a public court, a girl over there,” Browne further stated and remanded Lyscott in custody until Friday for sentencing.