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Watch That Womb!
October 4, 2009 permalink
A mother has been separated from her baby because she caused him serious injury. So far, it sounds good. But is there another side to the story? Was the incident an accident? We will never know. The names of the mother and child are secret. There is an unusual order for surveillance of the mother's womb: she must report any pregnancy to CAS. The children's aid involved, Owen Sound, has had more than its proportionate share of complaints.
Shaken baby still suffers years later
‘Momentary, isolated incident,’ lawyer says
Posted By Scott Dunn Posted October 3, 2009
A young mom was ordered this week not to be the primary caregiver of her young son after she shook and critically injured him two years ago.
The baby is unable to walk and requires a feeding tube to this day.
Justice W. W. Bradley on Wednesday gave the woman, who was 19 when charged, a conditional sentence lasting two years less a day — the maximum such sentence allowed — followed by two years probation.
An initial charge of aggravated assault between Dec. 17 and 18, 2007 in Owen Sound was later amended to “unlawfully causing bodily harm.”
She pleaded guilty in June to the little-used charge, which defence lawyer Clayton Conlan said in an interview reflected a “reduced level of criminal intent.”
The mother cannot be identified because doing so would also identify her child, contrary to the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
Conlan said the judge found that the child’s mother shook him briefly in a car seat while in their home.
Bradley found as fact that there was “no pattern of abuse,” Conlan said. “This was one, momentary, isolated incident where the root of it was frustration.”
Bradley also found “there was a real lack of assistance for the mother at the time and that she herself has her own serious limitations.”
Police got involved after Owen Sound hospital staff became suspicious about injuries to her two-and-a-half-week-old baby boy in the emergency department.
The child was later taken to hospital in London in critical condition.
The boy, now approaching his second birthday, is in the care of foster parents.
His foster father reported in a victim impact statement that as of September the child still can’t eat adequate food through his mouth and must be tube-fed daily.
He suffers one to five seizures per week, has limited use of his right arm, is unable to stand and struggles to hold up his head. He can’t crawl or push himself up, has problems manipulating toys and has a limited vocabulary.
The prognosis for improvement is guarded.
“I don’t think it would be fair to say that the doctors feel that the child will make some sort or miraculous or full recovery,” Conlan said.
The conditional sentence requires the mother not to associate with her son unless authorized by the Children’s Aid Society or by court order. She must also not be the primary caregiver of anyone younger than 14. She must also immediately report any new pregnancy to the CAS.
She can’t drink alcohol or use drugs unless prescribed for her and isn’t to associate with anyone named by her supervisor. She also has to accept any counselling recommended.
During the first year of her sentence she will be under house arrest, with permission to leave her residence for things such as medical appointments and counselling.
She’ll also wear an electronic monitoring bracelet for the first six months of the conditional sentence.
Her probation order contains most of the same terms, but no house arrest.
She was released from custody on Christmas Eve 2007 on $12,000 bail and a number of conditions, including that she have no contact with the injured child except under Children’s Aid Society supervision.
Source: Owen Sound Sun Times