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Parents lock baby inside house to go partying

Monday, March 25, 2019

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THE parents of a 10-month-old baby who was left unattended at home in Bull Bay, St Andrew, while they partied in St Catherine, drew the ire of people inside the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court last week.

Prior to pleading guilty to child neglect, the couple, Eric Hall and Antonette Francis, hung their heads in shame as they were chastised by numerous people, including those awaiting other matters to be heard.

The court was told that on March 2, neighbours heard the baby crying and summoned the police who were patrolling the area. When the police arrived at the one-bedroom dwelling, the door was padlocked from the outside. The police gained entry after relatives used a hammer to open the lock.

The baby was surrounded by pillows, a wash pan, clothes basket, hassock, and a five-gallon water bottle.

When the parents returned home on March 3, they told the police that a friend had invited them to a dance in St Catherine.

Parish Judge Vaughn Smith, who was taken aback by the allegations, said he gathered that the child was still with the parents, and instructed the probation officer to intervene and contact the Child Protection and Family Services Agency.

Smith said he was very concerned about the welfare of the child and that the matter needs to be investigated urgently.

He said he would be better able to pass a sentence after he's in receipt of a social inquiry report.

The couple was bound over to return to court on May 16.

— Racquel Porter


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