A teenager whose father held her hand on a hot stove burner five years ago as punishment for stealing said on Wednesday that she was unable to use the hand for a few weeks after the incident and had to have two surgeries.
However, the now 17-year-old told the court that she did not want him locked up for his crime as she wanted to build a relationship with him.
She gave a victim impact statement before Madam Justice Laurie-Ann Smith-Bovell in the No. 4 Supreme Court, as the case against Anecitus Albert of St Paul’s Avenue, Bayville, St Michael continued.
The father had pleaded guilty to unlawfully and maliciously inflicting serious bodily harm on the then 12-year-old girl on July 17, 2018.
The teen, pointing to a small scar on her left hand, told the judge of the pain she experienced and that she had to undergo surgery. However, when asked, she said that she did not want her father to go to prison as she wanted the opportunity to build a relationship with him.
Her mother also addressed the court. She explained that she did not know the extent of the injury initially as Albert, who had custody of their children at the time, told her “a little oil” had burned the girl’s hand when she was frying something.
The mother said that a few days later, she saw her daughter and realised that she was unable to open her hand, which was swollen. She questioned the child who then told her what had transpired.
She was taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and she was admitted. She had two surgeries and a skin graft. The mother was informed by a health official that the matter should be reported to the police as it was a case of child abuse, and she followed that advice.
Asked by the judge what would be considered adequate compensation if such an order was granted, the mother stated $10 000.
In submissions on sentencing, defence attorney Steve Gollop stated there were several mitigating factors to be considered, including that the now-convicted man had expressed remorse, that the act was out of character for him and not a case of wanton abuse, his early guilty plea and the fact that he had no previous convictions.
He asked that there be no custodial sentence, that the virtual complainant be compensated between $5 000 to $6 000, and that the family undergo counselling.
In his submission, State Counsel Kevin Forde said the offence should result in an immediate custodial sentence. However, pointing to the complainant’s desire for her father not to be imprisoned, he agreed that a compensation order was justifiable.
Forde submitted that $12 000 compensation, with half the amount paid forthwith, was suitable in the circumstances.
Asking his daughter for forgiveness, Albert said he wished he could undo the pain caused by his actions, and said he was willing to do what was necessary for reconciliation.
“Mr Albert, I really hope that you acknowledge the error of your ways. Discipline does not involve abuse, and what you did was abuse. They say time heals all wounds, but if this case was closer to the event, chances are you would be looking at a prison sentence,” Justice Smith-Bovell said.
She adjourned the case until January 26, 2024, when Albert will be sentenced.