Jury To Decide If Mother Can Stand Trial Over Daughter's Death


Tribune Staff Reporter


A jury will determine whether a 40-year-old woman is mentally fit to stand trial for allegedly setting her one-year-old daughter on fire and killing her last year, a Supreme Court judge has ordered.

Justice Bernard Turner made the order on Friday, after opting not to formally arraign Kemp Road resident Philipa Marshall due to submissions from her attorney Bjorn Ferguson concerning her ongoing mental issues.

In April, Marshall was charged with a single count of manslaughter for allegedly causing the death of Philicia Marshall by means of unlawful harm on February 14, 2017.

The charge has since been upgraded to murder.

Prosecutors reportedly alleged Marshall doused her child with gasoline and set her on fire at her Faith Gardens home after hearing voices.

The child died in February this year having been cared for at Princess Margaret Hospital.

Prior to her initial arraignment before Magistrate Samuel McKinney, Marshall had spent the previous 12 weeks at the Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre (SRC) due to mental health issues.

She is now listed as an SRC outpatient and is currently on medication.

On Friday, Mr Ferguson submitted that the Crown, which is in possession of a psychiatrist’s report of his client stating that she was mentally unstable at the time she allegedly committed the offence, can exercise its discretion on whether it should proceed against his client.

Referring to Section 92 of the Penal Code as well as section 155 of the Criminal Procedure Code to substantiate his submissions, Mr Ferguson charged that his client’s case would be an appropriate one for the issuance of a nolle prosequi.

Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Vernal Collie made brief submissions in response, however, in light of Mr Ferguson’s submissions, Justice Turner adjourned the matter to June 8 for mention.

On that date, he said he will further consider the matter and fix a date for a jury to consider her ability to stand trial for her daughter’s murder.

Last month, Acting Chief Justice Stephen Isaacs granted Marshall $15,000 bail with two sureties ahead of her trial.

As part of her bail conditions, Marshall must live with her sister-in-law in the interim. The Kemp Road native is also to have supervised visits with her two other children.

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