A woman who beat her son with a broom and continued hitting him after it had broken was given a suspended sentence on Friday. The boy’s injuries included a broken arm.
The woman pleaded guilty to assault causing actual bodily harm to the boy, 14, after a trial date was already listed, Crown counsel Darlene Oko told Justice Michael Wood.
Defense attorney Martha Rankine asked the judge not to record a conviction because that could interfere with the woman’s employment chances. The woman was currently employed, but at minimum wage; as the single mother of three children, she would want the opportunity to obtain higher pay, the attorney explained. “Punishing the mother will punish the children,” she asserted.
Ms. Rankine pointed out that the law permits parents to administer punishment.
Justice Wood responded, “The law does not allow a parent to break a child’s arm.”
He read the documents in the case, including an agreed basis of facts. He said the mother had assaulted the boy in the house they shared. She became angry when he was not obeying. She got a belt and struck him on the shoulder and back. Then she struck him with a broom, which broke due to the ferocity of the blows.
She continued to hit him with the broken portion of the broom.
When seen by medical personnel, the boy had blood on his face, welts on the upper part of his body, a cut under his nose and a fracture of a bone in his arm.
“This went way beyond chastisement,” the judge told the defendant.
He considered the use of two weapons and the sustained nature of the assault and said the custody threshold had clearly been passed.
The judge said he was taking into account her age, previous good character and the fact that her husband was deceased.
If she had not pleaded guilty, the sentence would have been two years; with a discount for plea, the sentence he gave was 16 months, suspended for two years.
Told that the mother and child were reconciled, Justice Wood ordered her to continue her engagement with the Department of Children and Family Services and any parenting sessions deemed appropriate.
He warned that any further offense in the next two years would bring her back to court and she would almost certainly go to prison for that offense and this one.
“I’m glad to see you and your son are back together,” he told her.
The Cayman Compass is not reporting the woman’s name because doing so would identify the boy.