A 34-year old woman and her friend who are both from St. Paul’s, St. George’s have found themselves in trouble with the law after allegedly being engaged in the burning a two-year old child with candle wax.
Keisha Passee, the mother of three, is jointly charged with 28-year old Josann Miller for the crime of wounding the toddler who is her God-daughter.
The ages of Passee’s children are 16, 12 and 8.
A video recording of the painful incident which went viral on social media showed the child being made to repeatedly touch a lighted candle, which was followed by the spilling of the hot candle wax on the child’s body.
During the video clipping, the voice of one of the ladies was heard instructing the child to also eat the candle wax.
THE NEW TODAY was reliably informed that the toddler received multiple burns as a result of the ordeal.
The act prompted the Child Protection Authority (CPA) to move quickly to take away the young child from the care of her God-Mother.
An immediate investigation was launched by the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) which resulted in the charge of wounding being slapped over the last weekend on Passee, a former student of Happy Hill Secondary School, and Miller who is a graduate of the Anglican High School.
The charges were laid summary and carries a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment and/or a fine of four thousand dollars.
The objection to bail by the Police Prosecutor for the two young ladies who were brought to court on Monday before Chief Magistrate Tamara Gill at the St. George’s No. 1 Magistrate’s Court triggered off a prolonged debate between Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Godfrey Victor and Defense Attorney Peter David.
ASP Victor described the alleged action of the two accused persons as being heinous.
The Chief Police Prosecutor informed the court that the child was left in the care of Passee by the mother who went to Trinidad sometime last month.
The senior Police Officer pointed out that the incident made its way onto social media and has now become public knowledge.
However, David who is a Government Senator felt that the General Public has already convicted his female clients and the impression is being given that there is no need for the law to take its course in the matter.
He said there is need for a proper trial and not to follow the public’s outcry in which the accused persons should be marched down persons should be marched down to the market and be hung.
According to the lawyer, the message coming from the public is – why are we wasting government’s time and money to do a trial? Let’s just send them to prison”.
David accused the Prosecution Department of relying on public outcry for its objection to bail.
The attorney said the reason why there is such a public interest is because the video made its way onto Facebook, adding that the case is not different from any other.
He said he knows of no case where an accused without a previous conviction and charged with wounding is denied bail.
The Defense Attorney said he too was angry when he first became aware of the candle-waxing incident involving a minor and took the position initially that he will not get involved in the case.
However, he said after receiving a call from a friend he met with Passee and Miller for two hours last Saturday, and another hour on Sunday to listen to their side of what had transpired.
He stated that this experience taught him to never judge someone without first being aware of the other side of the story.
David told the court that he did not look at the video until he had spoken to his clients and after looking at it “through their lens,” he saw what they were saying.
The attorney said he is sure that he would be ridiculed in the country for defending the women, but he believes that he has a strong defense to put to the court.
Chief Magistrate Gill informed Passee and Miller that she is satisfied with the grounds put forward by ASP Victor, and as a result she remanded them to the Richmond Hill Prisons.
The two accused women are to return to court on July 21st.
This newspaper understands that two members of the CPA Staff will be called as witnesses against the suspects.
THE NEW TODAY understands that attorney David was able to get bail early Wednesday morning for his clients from Justice Shiraz Aziz sitting at High Court No.1
The bail was reportedly set at $10,000 each with one surety.
As part of the conditions, Justice Aziz ordered that the two accused are to continue living at St. Paul’s, report to the St. Paul’s Police Station 3 times a week, and that Keisha’s children remain with their father until further order.
The judge also stipulated that the mother be allowed supervised visits to see her children.