Jamaica Observer: KINGSTON, By Candice Haughton – A Jamaica Public Service (JPS) technician pleaded with a parish judge on Tuesday for leniency for a struggling mother of four charged with stealing electricity.

The technician, who investigated the woman, told Senior Parish Judge Lori-Ann Cole-Montague that her living condition is not desirable. The woman’s name is being withheld to protect her children, ages ranging from 12 to 20 years.

“Her condition is not good. It doesn’t stay well. I don’t know she going to pay,” the JPS technician said.

Seemingly intrigued that a JPS employee was pleading on the woman’s behalf, the judge said, “I was going to fine her $50,000.”

The woman explained that she has been unable to work since January after she met in an accident at the construction site she worked at.

The accused, who was wearing a neck brace, told the court that she started stealing electricity two months ago.

“I know that things are not easy for all of us, but as you know, when there is the usage of electricity, if she doesn’t pay it, I am likely to be absorbing the cost, because that is how the JPS operates,” the judge said.

Continuing, she told the technician that it was noble of him to ask for leniency on the woman’s behalf.

Turning to the woman, Cole-Montague asked if she had been regularised, to which she answered no, because she has no money to do so.

“I’m not working right now, Your Honour, because of the accident,” the woman said.

When asked how she is surviving, the woman explained that she was able to provide for herself and her children by using money from her sick father’s bank card, whom she cared for. However, she said this stopped after her electricity was cut and her family members took her father and the bank card, because she had no electricity.

After hearing the plight of the mother of four, the judge decided to admonish and discharged her in lieu of a $50,000 fine.

“I feel for you, in light of your hardship. But, it cannot continue, so I’m giving you a very firm warning. And you have to be careful too. With children, you cannot have candles and all those sorts of things unattended, that could end with a worst tragedy for all of us,” the judge continued.