AN appeal was filed yesterday against the five-month prison sentence handed down to pregnant mother of nine, Kezi Doughty.
Defence Attorney Peter Taylor said he found the sentence was "unduly harsh and severe" and filed the action against the ruling made by San Fernando Magistrate Alicia Chankar last Thursday.
In a court document, Taylor stated the appeal was filed on the grounds that the sentence was severe, that it was improper to declare the children wards of the State without reference to a probation officer's report, and insufficient attention and weight were given to the mitigating factors.
Taylor, who was in court the day Doughty was sentenced, submitted that in the court document that the woman is employed, five months' pregnant and that the father of the children can be found.
"An opportunity should have been afforded to bring the father before the court to give an account of the role he plays in the children's lives and whether he is fit and able to look after his children," Taylor stated.
In handing down the sentence last Thursday, Chankar ordered that the children remain at a children's home until they are 16 years old.
She said that should a guardian or any interested party want to have custody of the children, they will have to approach the court and give a justifiable reason.
But Taylor said, "A magistrate ought not to declare children wards of the court until age 16 without the benefit of a Probation Officer's Report.
"A Probation Officer's Report will allow a determination to be made in the first instance as to whether there are family members who are fit, willing and able to take care of the children."
Doughty, 33, of King's Wharf, San Fernando who is seven months' pregnant with twins was charged by constable St Louis that on June 10 last year, being a parent in charge of five children, she willfully abandoned them to cause injury to their health.
The children were between six months and eight years old.
Chankar also ordered her to pay $3,000 on or before March 30, 2013 or serve three more months in jail.
Chankar questioned Doughty's parenting skills after evidence came before the court that she left her children alone, half naked and sleeping on a sponge in a house with spoilt food while Doughty went half mile away to the sea to bathe with one of her sons.
During the trial, police prosecutor Russell Ramoutar told Doughty she was an unfit mother as she left the children in an area where buses frequently passed.
The magistrate said she drove to the area before passing sentence on Doughty.
Doughty who underwent psychiatric evaluation at St Ann's before the trial, was found fit to face the charges and begged the magistrate to spare her the prison term.
She claimed that she had an appointment to attend clinic that morning and she was also gainfully employed. She cried as she was led out of the courtroom and screamed on the corridor of the San Fernando Magistrates' Court.
She also sat on the step of the courthouse and sobbed as police officers attempted to escort her to a waiting vehicle. Attorneys representing Doughty can make application for bail in the High Court pending the hearing of the appeal.