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No link between Prickly Pole child's death and demonstration - Children’s Advocate

Published:Wednesday | October 7, 2015 | 10:10 AM

The Office of the Children’s Advocate (OCA) says its investigations into the death of 11-year-old Prickly Pole Primary School student Akella Lewis has shown that there is no causal link between her death and a demonstration on September 18.

The death of the girl has been shrouded in controversy with reports that Akella was among students on a bus with parents, teachers and other adults who were on their way to a political protest in Claremont, St Ann.

However, in its interim report the OCA says Akella was not at the scene of the protest in Claremont.

 

More in this report from Debbie-Ann Wright

The OCA says while it is awaiting the findings of a post mortem examination, it is reasonable to infer that Akella had a pre-existing medical condition that contributed to her death.

It says there is no way to prove that even if she had not been running towards one of the buses that she would not have died at a young age.

It also says no one can be said to have been responsible for her death as no reasonable person could have foreseen that Akella would have run towards the bus and that she would have fallen ill.

However, the OCA notes that school chairman, Vinette Robb-Oddman breached her duty of care to members of the school community as she did not exercise her best judgement in facilitating participation of children in the protest.

Meanwhile, the OCA says no law was broken as it relates to participation of the children in the protest.

However, it says there was a violation of the children’s best interests as the youngsters were not exercising their freedom of expression and association of their own volition.

It says they were instead being made to conform to the wishes of their parents.

The protest was reportedly organised to highlight what the board chairman said was misleading information by South East St Ann Member of Parliament, Lisa Hanna.

At the time Hanna was involved in a political fight with some of the councillors in her constituency and Robb-Oddman was one of her critics.