By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Magistrate Sueanna Lovell who has attracted mounting criticisms in recent days for sentencing a Babysitter to five years in prison for inflicting grievous bodily harm on a one – year – old child has defended her judgment.
Lovell, when approached by members of the media on Wednesday, February 19 initially declined to comment on the matter, which has now become the subject of an appeal, according to reports.
“I don’t think it would be appropriate for me to comment at this time, I understand that the matter is the subject of an appeal and I prefer to let the appellate Court speak,” Lovell said.
When pressed further she would only say, “I operated within the confines of the law.” She told reporters that she could understand how the perception could be that favoritism was shown but assured that it was not the case.
Magistrate Lovell is being accused of being inhumane, unreasonable and unbalanced in her sentencing of 19 – year – old Fatima Martin, particularly since the parents of the child, whom Martin admitted to abusing, are Attorneys – at – Law (one a serving Magistrate). It is alleged that Lovell is a personal friend of the parents.
Reports are that Martin was unrepresented before the Court and Lawyers have since opted to appeal the sentencing. Martin admitted to family members who visited her on Monday, February 17 at the New Amsterdam Prison that she did hit the child. She said however, that she was beaten by the parents when she told them about the incident at the house.
According to a relative, Martin claimed she was beaten again at the Police Station in the presence of a female Police Officer.
The parents of the child, who is reportedly still seeking medical attention, has since denied these allegations, stating that the medical results show that the child was strangled and had marks of violence about the body which could have been caused from blunt trauma. The child also has a ‘bloodshot’ eye.
Several human rights activist on Monday, February 17 protested outside the Guyana International Conference Centre (GICC) where a sitting of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) was being held over what they say was the draconian sentencing of the 19 – year – old.
According to the activists who were drawn from several organizations, including the Amerindian People’s Association, the Guyana Women Miners Organization, Red Thread and the Help and Shelter all violence against children is wrong and should be outlawed.
However, they remain struck by both the speed at which the matter was concluded by the police and the Court and more so by the sentencing which is apparently the maximum penalty under the laws of Guyana.