Thursday, June 24, 1999

Defense says
wrong person faces
charges in tot
‘ice’ case

But a judge orders an isle
mom to stand trial for failing
to tell doctors

By Debra Barayuga


The attorney for a 25-year-old Kailua woman charged with failing to notify doctors that her 3-year-old son may have ingested crystal methamphetamine says prosecutors are charging the wrong person.

Brandi Uilani Leong was charged June 19 with first-degree attempted assault by omission and third-degree promotion of dangerous drugs after tests showed methamphetamine in her son Thomas' blood.

Leong took her son twice to Castle Hospital for treatment and did not intentionally or knowingly put her son at risk of substantial bodily injury or risk of death, said deputy public defender Barry Porter. She is also not responsible for the presence of an illegal substance at her home.

But District Judge I. Norman Lewis yesterday found there was sufficient evidence for the charges and sent the case to Circuit Court. Leong will be arraigned July 1.

If convicted of the charges, Leong faces 10 years imprisonment. Leong is free pending her arraignment after posting $15,000 bail.

Prosecutors argued that the attempted assault by omission charge is appropriate because Leong withheld relevant information from emergency room doctors, placing his life in danger because she was afraid she would get arrested.

"People die from crystal methamphetamine use," said Deputy Prosecutor Lynne McGivern. "This was a 3-year-old child."

According to Leong, her son came to her June 6 holding a shot glass with a liquid on the bottom that was "boiling," police Detective Alex Garcia testified.

Leong said she had asked other family members if they knew what the shot glass contained, but they wouldn't tell her. Her sister did warn her however not to take the boy to the hospital or she would be arrested and to "just let him ride it out," Garcia said.

Although she took her son to the hospital twice, she told doctors only that her son may have ingested acetone from a shot glass that had been placed on a surfboard at their Kailua home, Garcia testified. She said she took him to the hospital the second time because her son was twitching and moving strangely, having difficulty speaking and was unable to sleep.

"She said she was afraid (Thomas) was going to die or be retarded for the rest of his life because of the way he was acting," Garcia said.

Leong later admitted she suspected her son had consumed crystal methamphetamine because she had seen her brother a couple weeks before mixing the drug and acetone in the shot glass, Garcia said. That she took her son to the hospital twice showed she knew his condition was serious and wanted doctors to figure it out, McGivern said.

Dr. Craig Thomas, emergency room physician at Castle, testified that failing to disclose information about a dangerous event possibly involving the child affects doctors' abilities to administer proper care and endangers the child's life.

While the boy appeared normal in the emergency room, he did test positive for methamphetamine "enough to keep him awake all night," Thomas said.

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