Kids forced to kneel on bottle corks

May 26, 2022

The Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court heard yesterday that a Corporate Area man forced three of his stepchildren to kneel on metal bottle corks before beating them in their heads with a knife handle.

Ossel Smith pleaded not guilty to one count of child abuse. The children, who are aged 12, 10 and seven, were not present in court but were represented by their mother, Smith's wife, who said that the allegations were lies. However, the children's aunt told Chief Parish Judge Chester Crooks that she saw the children's injuries after they told her about what took place at the home. The children's mother shared with the court that since the matter was reported to the police, they were sent to live with her friend in Portland. But she did not provide an exact location for the person and did not provide the name of the friend.

"At the end of the day, they are still your children and they are potential witnesses against your partner. But right now my primary concern is the welfare of these children," Crooks indicated. But he grew frustrated after the court heard that cops told the mother that the children should remain with relatives. Crooks ordered that the children be placed before the court on Friday when the matter is to be mentioned.

"She shouldn't have moved them in the first place. If the police gave specific instructions that the family members should keep them, she shouldn't have. The children are to be brought here and for them to be handed over to family members," Crooks instructed. He warned that should there be non-compliance with his instructions, there will be problems for Smith and the police may consider charging him for attempting to pervert the course of justice.

"If we are not careful here, and the family cannot see eye to eye, then the court would have to make an order where the children are kept somewhere else that nobody would be happy about, including me. Because state agencies try their best, but unfortunately, when you send victims there and they mix with everybody else, they are further victimised because their freedom of movement is curtailed," Crooks said.

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