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Relief for mother

Serafina Silaitoga
Saturday, June 28, 2014

"GOD knows how difficult it has been to live every day without thinking of my children."

Hugging her one-year four-month-old baby girl, Maria Teresia uttered these words after the High Court in Labasa handed down a sentence of 24 month imprisonment suspended for three years.

"I just thank God for his faithfulness," she said as tears swelled in her eyes.

"All this time during this trial, I was always worried about going to jail because no one will look after my baby but God had a different plan and I am grateful to my lawyer."

Teresia was charged with two counts of manslaughter arising from breach of duty, and she was represented by Labasa lawyer Penijamini Lomaloma.

During her sentencing, Justice Prabaharan Kumararatnam said the accused pleaded guilty before the commencement of the trial and had no previous convictions.

"The marriage life of the accused has been shaken because of the incident and she suffered more than enough trauma at the highest degree with the death of her children," he said.

"The accused was under lots of pressure as she was nine months pregnant and overdue at the time of the offence. She has to live every day of her life with the knowledge that her children died because of her negligence."

In considering these factors, Justice Kumararatnam said because of the Sentencing and Penalties Decree 2009, he suspended the 24 months for a period of three years.

Teresia lost her two children — aged four and one year six months — in 2012 when their house burnt down in Tavuki Village, Taveuni.

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