By LEANDRA ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
A BOY who testified in court yesterday of his alleged beating at the Children’s Emergency Hostel admitted to cursing one of the caretakers and calling her a “b----” on the day he got spanked.
The child, age nine, is one of several witnesses giving testimony in the ongoing child cruelty trial involving six former employees at Children’s Emergency Hostel.
The accused women are Eloise Canter, Carmetta Woods, Natasha Pratt, Occonelle Gordon, Sabrina Smith and Shawn Seymour.
The former staff members are accused of unlawfully physically abusing nine boys and two girls in a way that caused them unnecessary suffering on September 22, 2020.
However, Seymour is solely accused of failing to report the abuse of the minors — who range from ages seven to 11 — to the appropriate officials on the day in question.
They were charged last year after police launched an investigation at the home following a surveillance video that went viral on social media, showing several children being beaten at the facility.
However, the women have denied the allegations.
Yesterday, the child witness recalled being beaten at the home by Smith, who he initially identified as Ms Mackey.
Asked why he was beaten, the child said he was being rude. However, he could not say how many spanks he received or where he was beaten.
“How did it make you feel?” asked the prosecutor.
The child replied, “Bad.”
He was also asked if he cried, to which he said, “Yes.”
The child also told the court he went to Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre three months after the incident, but could not say why he was sent there.
Asked how he felt at the facility, the child replied, “Frustrated.”
In cross-examination, attorney Wallace Rolle, who represents Smith, questioned the child about his behaviour and asked how he was being rude.
The boy told the court he was fighting with another child at the home.
However, when asked if he fought with workers that day, the boy denied doing so.
“Do you believe children who fight should be spanked,” the attorney asked.
The boy replied, “Yes.”
“Did you curse them?” Mr Rolle questioned.
The nine-year-old nodded.
When asked which words he used that day, the child was initially hesitant and told the court he didn’t want to repeat the words because it was “confusing.”
However, when the magistrate indicated that it was okay for him to say the words, the child said he used the “b-word.”
The prosecutor then asked the child if he used any bad words in reference to the women’s private parts.
However, the Crown prosecutor objected to the question and asked him to rephrase it.
In response, the child said he only used one curse word.
The prosecutor also suggested the reason the child was sent to Sandilands was because of his bad behaviour and even went on to say that the child also fought with the staff.
However, the magistrate interjected, reminding him the child had previously said he didn’t know why he was sent to the rehabilitative centre.
The case continues May 16 at noon.
The attorneys in the case include Larell Hanchell who represents Seymour; Mr Rolle who represents Smith, Ian Cargill who represents Pratt, Rysard Humes who represents Woods, and Barry Sawyer for Cantre.
Sgt Vernon Pyfrom is prosecuting, while Magistrate Kendra Kelly is presiding over the matter.