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Conditional discharge for childcare employee who hit boy

Magistrates' Court (photo by Glenn Tucker)

A former daycare worker was yesterday given a two-year conditional discharge after she admitted an assault on a five-year-old boy.

Magistrates’ Court heard how the victim, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was “petrified” after Lenai Caines, 45, hit his buttocks until they became red.

A victim impact statement from the boy’s mother, read in court by Maria Sofianos, for the prosecution, said: “After the traumatic incident my son’s personality changed drastically.

“He cautiously interacts with adults because of his lack of trust.

“Moreover, my son is petrified about doing or saying something wrong that may cause him to get in trouble.

“He will instantly cry if he thinks that he is going to get in trouble and apologises profusely.”

The mother added: “The incident has severely impacted his communication skills and emotional wellbeing.

“When faced with any challenges or interactions with his peers or adults he cries, runs away and avoids any attempts at communicating.”

The mother said: “My son was afraid to be around adults besides his grandmother and I. As a result, he was scared to attend school and he would often cry while physically clinging to me at morning drop-offs.

“I am still furious about what happened to my son – however, as his mother, I had to provide emotional support through various therapies to promote his self confidence to ensure that this horrible event doesn’t define who he is as a young Bermudian Black male.”

The court heard that Caines, from Paget, hit the boy on September 11, 2019 while he was under her care at a nursery.

Caines pleaded not guilty when she was charged last October, but switched her plea to guilty on February 15.

Marc Daniels, for the defence, said his client learnt on the day of the incident that a family member had suffered a stroke.

He added that the child had wet himself about four times that day, which contributed to Caines’ stress, and that she attempted to discipline him but went too far.

Mr Daniels asked that his client, who lost her licence for childcare after the incident, get an absolute discharge and highlighted she was of previous good character.

He added: “Effectively, what this case amounts to is an exercise in bad judgment when dealing with certain circumstances.”

Magistrate Tyrone Chin sentenced Caines to a two year discharge on the condition that she stay away from drugs and alcohol and submit to random drug tests.

He also ordered her to be assessed for psychological counselling.

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