Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Kind Heart of a Perfect Daughter

"I did not want to hurt or harm my kids, but it was a very big mistake. I will live heartbroken for the rest of my life. We love our kids."
"[M had forgiven her father] because she was a perfect daughter and had a kind heart."
Algerian father of twin girls, Edmonton

"This is a crime of inhumanity against small children. Few offences are as grave as causing mortal injuries to children."
"This was by his own hand and he must pay a steep price."
Justice Sheila Greckol, Court of Queen's Bench, Edmonton, Alberta

"It is difficult to imagine a more appalling case of manslaughter to be visited upon a helpless child. M died a long, excruciating death and was tortured repeatedly in the time leading up to her death. S's life with her parents was equally shocking and tortured."
Crown prosecutor Megan Rosborough
Baby M
Court released police evidence photo shows the fridge in the home of Baby M was full of food while, as the Crown prosecutor argued, the children went without. PHOTO SUPPLIED
This criminal case was about two-year-old twin girls, one of whom has died, the other who is recovering. The remaining twin and her four-year-old brother were taken into protective custody, out of their parents' hands. Early on the morning of May 25, 2012 the father who cannot be named to protect the children, called 911. Baby M had stopped breathing while he was at work; on his return, the emergency call was made.

Paramedics on arrival to the home found the tiny girls each strapped into car seats with M not breathing, and with no discernible pulse. Both she and her sister S were emaciated, mere skin and bones. In contrast the four-year-old brother was in fine fettle, well fed and cared for. The boy slept in a clean bedroom with his parents. The bedroom the girls were kept in was soiled, the mattress filthy with urine. The little boy had clean clothing and plenty of toys; the girls had none.

The home was stocked with food, but the little girls were in starvation mode. M weighed 13 pounds, her twin slightly more. Both were covered with scabs and bruises. Little M had suffered blunt force cranial trauma. Though the parents mounted a legal challenge they lost control of the children's medical care; the courts ordered that M be removed from her respirator in September 2012. M died, and S lived, too weak to move legs or arms. She and her brother have now been adopted.

The father of the family pleaded guilty to manslaughter, aggravated assault and failing to provide the necessities of life. While M's condition was beyond the ability of medical science to preserve what was left of her life, S made a remarkable recovery. During the trial, Judge Greckol spoke of the personal misfortune that had visited the family; the father lost his family, his job and the potential of starting afresh in Canada.

In pronouncing sentence upon the father, Judge Greckol felt the appropriate punishment for the crime of torturing and abusing vulnerable infants would be 15 years in prison. Given credit for time already served, there is 12 years left on the sentence. Once the sentence has been served the children's father will be deported from Canada on his release from prison. The mother of the children was also charged though her case has not yet reached trial.

"They should have been able to rely on their father to protect, nurture, feed and love them. This was a beach of trust of nearly unfathomable dimensions", said Crown prosecutor Shelly Bykewich.

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