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Mother to stand trial for death of toddlers

Mother to stand trial for death of toddlers


The mother of two toddlers who were killed in a house fire earlier this year was committed to stand trial at the High Court.{{more}}

Tasha Sutherland of Owia appeared at the Serious Offences Court on Wednesday, November 4, 2009, the last day of the Preliminary Inquiry.

Sutherland was arrested and charged earlier this year, following a fire at Redemption Sharpes which claimed the lives of her two children, Kalia Sutherland, 3, and Jamal Finch, 1. She was charged with causing the death of both children and also with abandonment.

The children were both left at home alone since Sutherland left her home on Sunday, February 22, 2009, and never returned. The fire occurred on February 23, 2009.

Representing Sutherland, lawyer Kay Bacchus Browne made a no-case submission presentation to the court. The submission was overruled by Chief Magistrate Sonya Young, and Sutherland was committed to stand trial before a judge and jury.

Delivering her submission, Bacchus Browne said that the prosecution’s evidence could not prove that Sutherland intentionally abandoned her children on that day. She said that Sutherland usually left the children in Leroy “Jerry” Williams’ care, the man who owned the house. He left on the morning of Monday, February 23, before Sutherland came home, leaving the children locked inside the house.

Bacchus added that Sutherland was late in arriving at the home on the morning of the incident because Jerry had telephoned her and told her to bring pampers and food for the children. Bacchus added that Jerry had a duty to care for the children as he took both the children and their mother into his home.

Replying to Bacchus Browne’s submission, Prosecutor Inspector Nigel Butcher said that there was no evidence in the case which says that the children were left in Jerry’s care. Evidence states that Jerry arrived home and met the children alone in the house.

Butcher added that other evidence given by witnesses state that Sutherland had occasionally left the children alone at home with the house locked and at one time a neighbour had to push food and water inside for the children. Butcher also asked the magistrate to take into consideration the ages of the children.

Bacchus Browne replied stating that the prosecution’s case was based on incidents that occurred in the past. She maintained that the children were entrusted with Jerry and that they were alive and well up to the point that he left them at the house that morning.