Mother jailed for killing her three-year-old
From the Courts
March 20, 2020

Mother jailed for killing her three-year-old

A MOTHER HAS been sentenced to six years, eight months prison time for the death of her three-year old, who a post mortem revealed died from blunt force trauma to the head and had several bruises on his face, hands and buttocks.

The August 2017 manslaughter to which Diana Caine pleaded guilty has left the father of Keran Leron Jack Junior in a state of trauma.

The father told social workers, in a report that was used to sentence Caine last Friday, March 13, that he had viewed Caine, his former lover for two years, as irresponsible. Therefore, when their son was only three months old, he removed him from her care, and placed him in the care of his paternal grandmother.

He revealed that he only let the child visit Caine after he turned two years, and even then, only for a few days.

On August 24, 2017, the day of Jack Junior’s death, the court heard that he had been left in Caine’s care. At some point during the day, a neighbour said they heard the toddler crying loudly and he inquired from the 23-year-old mother what was happening. Caine told him that the toddler had messed on himself in the house, and was being punished for this. Later that day, he again heard Jack Jr loudly crying, and Caine threatening to break his neck, with the use of expletives for emphasis. The neighbour said that this upset him, and he said that he would call the police, but Caine still did not stop beating the toddler.

Later on the same day, a crowd of persons were seen leaving the house, and the neighbour was told that the child had fallen ill. At the clinic, where Caine and her mother were crying, Jack Jr was pronounced dead.

A post mortem showed blunt force trauma to the head was the cause of death, and that there was swelling and bruises to the face, hands and buttocks of the child.

Although she was indicted for murder, Caine pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter and the crown, led by the Director of Public Prosecutions( DPP) Sejilla McDowall, accepted the plea.

Lawyer for the defense Ronald Marks noted that his client accepted that this was a case of discipline gone wrong.

“From the very beginning when she was first questioned by the police, she informed them of her involvement in the matter, and at all times insisted that she was not the one who delivered the fatal blow,” he stated.

What Caine said happened was that she acted along with her then boyfriend in the reprimand of the toddler, which resulted in his death. Marks commented that he did not know why, if the boyfriend was placed in the room at the time, the prosecution did not have a police statement taken from him.

“I don’t know if there is one that I have missed because I’ve not seen a police statement with regards to this,” the lawyer continued, adding that he is certain that the boyfriend did not testify in the preliminary inquiry.

Further he noted that the prosecution’s evidence is only circumstantial, and while “in circumstances, circumstantial evidence can be very strong evidence indeed,” there’s nothing to contradict Caine’s version of events.

Beyond this, the lawyer commented that the sole aggravating feature in the offences was that the victim was a vulnerable one, but this was countered by the fact that Caine was a virgin to the law and had pled guilty.

He submitted a sentence of around four or six years would be applicable in the circumstances.

The DPP responded to the point about the evidence made by Marks, commenting that there is a statement made by the boyfriend, and it was disclosed to the defense by the crown “I’m a bit surprised, because disclosure in this matter, would have issued in the early stages as the crown would likely always do,” especially in cases such as this one, McDowall stated.

She admitted that the boyfriend was not called to testify. However, in Caine’s first deposition, the DPP pointed out, “she did not implicate her boyfriend at all, but gave a theory that the child fell.”

Justice Brian Cottle considered in his sentencing that the 23-year-old at the time, first became a mother at age 17. She says that she grew up in severe poverty, and dropped out of school at form three as she could not afford it. After becoming pregnant, she moved in with her the boyfriend, but this did not last.

One of her daughters is in the care of the state, and there is a record of physical abuse from the mother that led to this. She was pregnant when Jack Jr died, and has not been able to take care of this child adequately.

A great grandmother, and Caine’s own mother described her as a good mother and respectful.

Justice Cottle started at 15 years imprisonment, and then adjusted this based on consideration of all circumstances. The social inquiry report had also deemed Caine a good candidate for rehabilitation.

After a discount for a guilty plea, and the consideration of aggravating and mitigating features, the court landed at a sentence of six years, eight months. Caine has already spent two years, five months and two weeks in prison.

She will be required to take part in psychological treatment, and counselling, as was recommended in the social inquiry report.