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Woman convicted of mistreating vulnerable teen in landmark case

Woman convicted of mistreating vulnerable teen in landmark case

Friday 09 February 2024

Woman convicted of mistreating vulnerable teen in landmark case

Friday 09 February 2024

A woman has been convicted of mistreating and neglecting a vulnerable teenager in her care following a landmark case in the Royal Court.

Joana Da Mata Viana Martins mocked and shouted in the face of the disabled 18-year-old, withheld her wheelchair and physically intimidated her in what the police described as an "appalling" set of offences.

The 42-year-old denied two counts of ill-treatment/wilful neglect of a vulnerable individual under the Capacity and Self-determination Law 2016, but was found guilty following a four-day trial.

Martins is the first person to be convicted under the law, which is deigned to give greater protection to the island's most vulnerable residents.

The case came to the attention of the authorities on 27 September 2022 when the Safeguarding Adults Team received a referral about the possible mistreatment of the victim by Martins.

A multiagency meeting was held, and key partners, including members of the Learning Disability Team, worked together to ensure the victim's safety and well-being.

Martins was charged on 2 June 2023 in relation to what the police described as "deeply concerning behaviour".

Detective Constable Fewtrell, the investigating officer, said: "This is an appalling crime, whereby a person, placed in a position of trust, has abused a vulnerable female who relied on her for care.

"Crimes such as these should never be tolerated, and we will do everything in our power to see offenders face justice."

Martins is due to be sentenced later this year.

Police said the conviction served "as a testament to its unwavering dedication to upholding the law and ensuring that justice is served".

Anyone with concerns about possible cases of neglect is asked to phone police on 444440.

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