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More on Dead Boy in Edmonton

January 31, 2007 permalink

A boy died in foster care in Edmonton on January 27. As long as the names of the dead boy, his family, and the accused foster mom are kept confidential, it is impossible to learn anything but the social services side of the story. Two articles today give a little more.

We have heard the complaint many times from parents that they got the court papers only minutes before a hearing, making it impossible to even read them before court time. Here is a similar story from a lawyer.



Lawyer angry not told of court date (7:22 p.m.)

Says media knew more about the case than she did

Mike Sadava,

Published: Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The lawyer temporarily representing a foster mother charged with murder is angry she wasn’t notified her client had a court appearance on Tuesday.

The 32-year-old woman, wearing a navy blue sweatshirt and leg irons, was remanded in custody until Feb. 5 after a brief appearance in provincial court.

Shannon Prithipaul, who began representing the woman on Friday, said she only found about the court appearance because her husband heard about it on the radio.

“It is really frustrating that it seems the media knows more about this case than her counsel,” Prithipaul said after the court appearance.

The accused, whose name is subject to a publication ban, has been charged with second-degree murder, assault causing bodily harm, failure to provide the necessities of life and child abandonment.

An autopsy shows a three-year-old boy in her care died of head injuries.

Prithipaul said she met with her client numerous times over the weekend and gave her card to detectives.

“As far as the court date goes, I can’t speak to that because the responsibility belongs with police,” said Alberta Justice spokesman David Dear.

“Police lay the charge and they bring the person down to the bail hearing when the court date is set.”

City police spokesman Jeff Wuite said the Crown has that responsibility.

“Our conduit into the legal system is the Crown, so we give our information to them and they’re responsible for distributing it around,” Wuite said.

Prithipaul said she will pass the case to another lawyer with more experience in murder cases.


Source: Edmonton Journal

The boy's father issued a statement supplied to the Edmonton Sun by Edmonton law firm Engel Brubaker.



“Regarding the impact of the untimely passing of my son. The Child and Family Services Authority system failed to provide a safe, secure, nurturing and loving environment.

“This system failed to protect my son.

“Unfortunately my son was abused and subjected to corporal punishment, which in my view are forms of torture. My son was subjected to forms of excruciating pain and neglect, until his passing.

“I am unable to comprehend how any individual could inflict theses types of injuries on my child.

“On Saturday, January 27, 2007, I held my son’s battered, starved, beaten, broken body as he suffered, until he took his last breath of life.

“My pain and suffering can not be put into words. For there are no words to truly describe what I have seen and how this tragedy has impacted me and my family.

“This horrid tragedy is incomprehensible, for the Child and Family Services Authority are to protect our children. And they failed the most precious Gift the Creator gave me, my son and his life.

“In these, the saddest days of my life, I hear many people speaking about the ways the system failed my son. People say there wasn’t enough money to ensure there were Native foster homes to care for our children. There wasn’t enough money to ensure there were social workers visiting foster homes often enough. From my point of view however, the one thing most lacking was a lack of trust. I believe there wasn’t enough trust in First Nations people to determine what is best for our own children.

“In this, you can trust. We promise that we love our children. We promise that we want our children to thrive and prosper. We promise that we want our children to change the world, so that it will be a better place for all people to live in. My son’s short life will help to fulfill that third promise, if we learn from the mistakes that have been made. If we learn from our mistakes, his death will have meaning.

“There needs to be trust, that as a community, First Nations people have the best interests of their children in mind. Because First Nations people better understand the circumstances of their people.

“There needs to be a real commitment to trusting and supporting First Nations people in finding ways to provide our own children with safe homes when their parents can not provide them. If this isn’t in or part of our current system, it should be. For our people have survived for thousands and thousands of years, effectively solving problems. This is one we can solve if entrusted to do so.

“It is we, his family who are left to grieve the death of my son. We do so knowing our wishes were not always respected, in regards to decisions that affected his life. We are left picking up the pieces without having a significant impact into the matters that affected his life and caused his loss of life. If his SACRIFICE is to have meaning there needs to be change.

“I provide this statement so you will have an understanding. And I request that all media related individuals leave all my family members alone. For this horrid tragedy has affected us to the core of our being. And we ask that out of respect and understanding, you would allow us to grieve in private.”

Source: Edmonton Sun