Young, pregnant mother’s time more valuable to being a mom: judge

Cory Hurley
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A judge ruled against giving a pregnant, 17-year-old mother more community service this week.

The young woman appeared before Judge Wayne Gorman in Corner Brook Wednesday, having failed to complete all but three of 20 community service hours as part of a prior conviction. She took responsibility for not finishing the work, and wanted to accept sentence and prepare for the expected arrival of her second child in three months time. She already has a one-year-old child.

Being a mother, she said it was a challenge to complete the community service hours. However, she said her placement refused to let her back after the last time she missed a scheduled day.

Crown attorney Lori St. Croix asked the judge to impose 17 hours of community service as her sentence, and place her on nine to 12 months probation only so she can be monitored to do the work.

With the second child on the way, legal-aid lawyer Sandi MacKinnon asked the judge to shorten the probation to three months. The lawyer said the expecting mother wanted to complete the hours before the baby arrived, knowing her available time would be lessened after the birth.

Gorman asked the young woman if she thought seeing a youth court worker was a benefit to her. He asked if it was good to have somebody to talk to in case she needed assistance or direction to resources. She said yes to both.

The judge said community service placements are often difficult to find and questioned the value to the community in this particular situation. Gorman decided the mother’s time would be far more beneficial dedicated to her child and the baby along the way.

Gorman imposed probation for 12 months, with no community service order.

Geographic location: Corner Brook

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