The District ‘A” Magistrates Court witnessed a rare occurrence late yesterday afternoon when two St Michael fathers, in separate cases, admitted to offences against their children.
Shortly after Bentley Webster admitted to wrongfully confining his two sons by chaining them while he was away from home, Antonio Alphonsa Matthews confessed that he wilfully abandoned his two sons.
Both men appeared before Magistrate Kristie Cuffy-Sargeant.
Matthews, 35, pleaded guilty to two counts of wilfully abandoning his two children in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to their health, while they were in his custody.
The children are ages two and four.
Police prosecutor, Sergeant Janice Ifill, told the court that after police received a report about domestic violence, they made their way to Matthews’ Prescod Bottom, Hindsbury Road, St Michael residence.
When they arrived, lawmen saw a door wide open but Matthews was nowhere in sight. They shouted for him but got no answer. What they saw was a light inside the house which appeared to be coming from a lamp on a shelf.
The lamp was positioned close to some curtains. Both of his children were asleep on a bed in the living room at the time. Matthews arrived minutes after the officers got there.
Asked to explain his absence, the jack-hammer operator said he went to a shop to buy bread but on finding the shop closed, he went to another nearby shop instead and bought rum.
He was only away for about 25 minutes, he said.
The Child Care Board was subsequently notified and the children placed in their care.
Matthews explained to Magistrate Cuffy-Sargeant that he tried his best to look after the children since their mother left them, but was finding it difficult to do so. He also said he had no one to help him care for the young boys.
“I now realize how hard women does got it,” he confessed.
The magistrate said she believed that he genuinely cares about his sons, but went about it the wrong way. Matthews agreed with her statement.
He also apologized for his actions but said even though he loves his sons, they were probably better off in the care of the Child Care Board since things were very difficult for him at this time.
He was reprimanded and discharged.