Judge Bruce-Lyle – Mischicha was let down by the system!
December 20, 2013
Judge Bruce-Lyle – Mischicha was let down by the system!

Outspoken High Court judge Frederick Bruce-Lyle says the system failed Mischicha Peters, the teenager who killed her one-year-old son last year.{{more}}

“To me, this prisoner was let down by the system. The system failed her,” Bruce-Lyle said, just before passing sentence on Peters, Monday at the High Court.

Peters, a 19-year-old resident of Arnos Vale, was initially charged with the murder of her son, but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter at the High Court.

The young woman was not made to serve further jail time after Bruce-Lyle deemed that the one year and four months she spent on remand would be reflected as her sentence.

Bruce-Lyle was of the opinion that if more had been done with Peters, the child, McKealti Peters, could have been alive today.

Clinical psychologist Dr Antia Watson-Adams told the court that at the moment Peters placed a pillow over her son’s face, killing him, she (Peters) was experiencing a sudden and transient dissociated state, meaning that she was moving and doing, but not consciously thinking, and that her perception of life and the world were distorted.

At the sentencing Monday, case worker in the Ministry of National Mobilisation Jacqueline Howe read the social inquiry report of Peters.

The case worker told the court that at a young age, Peters had to take care of all of her younger siblings. During the interview with Howe on November 5, 2013, Peters revealed that there were times when she attended school with little or no money and would oftentimes go hungry, but never complained to the teachers about it.

Peters is a former student of the Girls’ High School in Kingstown.

Howe also said she interviewed the mother of Peters, Jasmine Peters, who told her that she (Jasmine) was raped by her step- father at the tender age of 11, and later became pregnant with her first child, Mischicha. Howe indicated that Mischicha was cared for by the man who raped her (Mishchicha’s) mother.

When interviews with persons in the communities of Glen and Arnos Vale were conducted, Mischicha was described as a quiet individual who cared dearly for her child. Some persons even indicated that Mischicha would help the children in the community with their school work from time to time.

“One can’t blame the prisoner at the Bar for being poor. She happens to fall into that category. I’m taking into account her poverty. She still tried, even with her pregnancy…,” Bruce-Lyle said.

Despite being pregnant, Mischicha was able to obtain seven passes at O level.

“This is a very sad case. There are no aggravating circumstances. None whatsoever. Everything goes in her favour…”

The judge ordered that Mischicha undergo counselling for a period to be determined by the social welfare department.

“You are free to go. Let me advise you; you have a second chance at life. Don’t give up. With this conviction, you can’t become a lawyer, but there are so many other things you can do. You have seven O’levels, do something with them,” Bruce-Lyle beseeched.(KW)