Alleged victim of DCFS assault gives evidence in court
A teenager who used to be in the care of the Government’s child protection agency said yesterday she acted out at the airport to avoid being sent to an overseas treatment centre.
The 18-year-old told Magistrates’ Court that she tried to leave the airport and that she earlier tried to overdose on medication to avoid having to return to the centre in Salt Lake City, Utah.
She was speaking at the trial of Kennette Robinson, the assistant director of the Department of Child & Family Services, who is accused of assault on the woman, who was 17 at the time of the alleged offence.
The woman told the court Ms Robinson, 52, had confiscated personal belongings in a bid to persuade her to get on the flight and the trouble escalated when she tried to take back her things.
The teenager said: “I just kept asking for my iPad back and kept asking for my headphones back, but she didn’t give them to me.
“She must’ve thought I was going to touch her or something – that’s when she punched me in my stomach and then gripped me by my throat.”
She added: “It was very upsetting – I just wanted my things back.”
Ms Robinson, from Devonshire, has pleaded not guilty to charges of assault on a 17-year-old girl and mistreatment of a child under her care.
It is alleged that Ms Robinson grabbed, choked and punched the girl and stamped on her headphones after she refused to board the flight.
The incident is alleged to have happened on May 8 last year.
The alleged victim said that she had attended the secure treatment facility for two years and had returned to Bermuda in April 2019.
She said that she did not want to go back to the centre because she did not want to be away from home.
She added that she took up to 15 sleeping pills the night before she was due to leave and ten painkillers the next morning because she “hoped that something would happen and I could miss my flight”.
The teenager said: “I just wanted to stay home, be with my family and do well.
“They didn’t think that I was good enough to go back home.”
The woman said that she attempted to leave and avoid her flight several times after she arrived at the airport.
She added that Ms Robinson took her iPad and headphones, stamped on the headphones, and told her she would get them back if she went on the flight.
The teenager said that she attempted to grab her belongings from Ms Robinson, but Ms Robinson punched her in the stomach and grabbed her by the neck.
Charles Richardson, for the defence, highlighted that the girl had a history of bad behaviour and had been aggressive towards Ms Robinson on the day of the alleged incident.
He suggested to the teenager that Ms Robinson did not punch her in the stomach and had pushed her with her hand “in the area” of her neck instead of choking her.
Mr Richardson added that Ms Robinson only pretended to stamp on the headphones, which were a gift from DCFS, and was within her rights to confiscate the electronics.
The woman said she understood why Ms Robinson might have feared a physical response.
But she insisted that was not her intention.
The teenager said: “I knew not to put my hands on an adult. I knew I would get into more trouble.”
She added: “I remember clear as day. It happened very quickly – I remember because it was such a shock to me that it actually happened.”
Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo adjourned the case until December 17 and extended Ms Robinson’s bail.
The trial continues.
•It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding criminal court cases. This is to prevent any statements being published that may jeopardise the outcome of that case.