The mother of a 3-year old toddler, who fell victim to child abuse at the hands of two adults known as the “candle waxers”, has expressed dissatisfaction with the 6-month sentence handed down on them.
Chief Magistrate Her Honour Tamara Gill imposed the sentence last week Friday at the St. George’s No. 1 Magistrate’s Court.
Blood sisters, Kisha Passe, 33, and Josann Miller,28, both from St. Paul’s, were charged in July 2016 with wounding following the release of a disturbing child abuse video that went viral on social media.
The video recording showed a child being burnt with hot candle wax and crying in pain while the perpetrators laughed.
One of the women is heard on the video instructing the child to eat the wax, saying: “Eat it, it’s nice.”
After the sentence was handed down, the quite noticeably disappointed mother of the infant who was sitting in court told the assembled media personnel that the 6-month imprisonment is “not enough” to bring justice for what was done to her child.
“Six months is not enough, that is not right…I may be speaking on behalf of (the) public and what the public think. But it’s my child, not anybody else child and it’s like … she did not get any justice,” declared the mother.
The angry and upset mother indicated to the court that she would like compensation for what was done to her child.
Passe and Miller, who had retained the services of Attorney-at-law, Peter David, were initially charged with the indictable offence of wounding, which carries a maximum of 4 years imprisonment, and fines of $4, 000 or both.
About three weeks ago, they both pleaded guilty to an amended pleaded guilty to an amended charge of causing harm, which carries a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment.
During the latter stages of the hearing, Attorney-at-Law, Richie Maitland who is attached to Ciboney Chambers handled the case for David.
The young attorney directed the court to look at the Social Inquiry Report of both women in mitigating the case as they had accepted full responsibility and expressed remorse for what they did.
The court was told that Passe, who is the infant’s godmother and a mother of three herself, gave the impression that the victim was her very own child.
The report indicated that some persons in the St. Paul’s Community held the view that Passe “was not a bad person until she did what she did.”
One individual, who chose to remain anonymous, told Social Workers of her observation that Passe was giving the infant a lot more attention than she did to her own children and seemed to have gotten along very well with other community members.
In the case of Miller, she was described as someone who likes to torment little children in the community.
One of her neighbour’s acknowledged that the incident was wrong;however, he told social workers that he did not want her to go to prison.
According to the Victim impact Statement, the child who was 2-years-old when the incident occurred, always wanted to be around Passe, who appeared to have always wanted the toddler around.
In apologising to the court, Miller expressed remorse and accepted responsibility for her role in the incident.
“I can understand the frustration, anger and condemnation of the public…I know sorry is not enough, but I am sorry,” Miller told the court.
Passe also apologised for her actions and expressed remorse over the incident stating: “I take full responsibility for my actions…I never meant for any harm to come to Summer Ray.”
Attorney Maitland pleaded for a non-custodial sentence for his clients on the grounds of the unprecedented nature of the offence committed by the women and pointed out that due to “the sensational nature of the case the two have already been tried and convicted by the public court.”
However, Chief Magistrate Gill, who acknowledged the sensationalism of the case, did not agree to a non-custodial sentence pointing to the “seriousness of the offence (that was committed against) a helpless child.”
She said a custodial sentence would serve as a deterrent to others that such behaviour would not be upheld by the court.
In addition, Passe and Miller were ordered to undergo prenatal counseling while serving their sentence at the recently refurbished female wing at Richmond Hill Prison.