Alleged child abuse victim testifies

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By Latrishka Thomas

A 16-year-old boy told the court yesterday that he received 65 “strokes” from his father in one of his hands after his stepmother “put up” his punishments until his father could issue them.

A married couple from Potters is on trial in the St. John’s Magistrates’ Court charged with endangering their son on July 28 2020 by severely beating him when he was 15.

The first witness was the neighbour who’d reported the matter to the police.

He told the court that he went to a Hispanic lady’s house to set up her DVD player when he heard “blows firing at the back.”

“I was in the room standing for half an hour and I stood up and heard,” he said.

He said that after leaving, he called a specific officer in the village, and on his way home he saw one of the defendant’s sons- the victim’s younger brother – in the backyard.

 “The little boy face scrape up like somebody hold him by his face and finger nails scrape him, he was limping [and] he was holding his ear,” the witness recounted

In her cross-examination, defense lawyer Saska Diamond sought to establish whether the witness actually saw anything or was merely speculating based on what he thought he heard.

The second witness was another villager who said that she met one of the sons one day, limping, and he had what she thought was drool on his face, but when she looked closer, she realized that he had an injury to his ear that was leaking some sort of fluid.

She said that when she asked him about it, he seemed nervous and afraid. She then took a peek under his shirt, behind his neck, and noticed bruises.

The woman said that she tried to get help by contacting the police and youth intervention and was advised not to confront the defendants directly because it could worsen the situation for the child.

The third witness was the alleged victim – now in the custody of his stepsister – who took the stand and told the court that he typically got 15-20 lashes for serious wrongdoing.

But on the night of July 13, he got 65 blows which were compiled from things he’d allegedly done while his father was away, he said.

He disclosed that he was being punished because he stole a donkey, lied, and did not stop his brother from taking a bucket that they cut cane in before selling.

He said that all of the lashes were in his right hand which was swollen after, but “I didn’t cry because it didn’t make any sense to cry,” he said also indicating that the “belt was worn out.”

The defense then questioned the victim to determine whether or not scrapes and bruises that his younger brother reportedly had were from beatings, and he indicated that they were not from lashes, but rather from playing.

The trial was then adjourned until January 11,2022. Chief Magistrate Joanne Walsh is presiding over the matter.

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