Press one of the expand buttons to see the full text of an article. Later press collapse to revert to the original form. The buttons below expand or collapse all articles.
October 18, 2011 permalink
Lily Choy is about to be sentenced for killing someone. At least in the first two articles Albertans know who the convicted woman is. We can still only refer to the deceased as Alberta Kafka.
In the third article, all the press will disclose is that somebody did something to someone. Our research shows the dead girl is the one we call Edmonton Toddler, initials JC. A legend persists that astronauts never went to the moon. They landed a hundred miles from liftoff at Cape Canaveral then went to a studio to produce scenes for the landing. The secrecy in this Alberta case makes it worthy of similar skepticism. Did it really happen, or was it just a studio-produced press release? But it gets worse. Canada has had dozens of people spend years behind bars on false convictions, for example, William Mullins-Johnson. Sooner or later, one of these secret convictions will be of an innocent person. When that happens, the press will be muzzled, and the process that remediates false conviction will never get started.
Prosecutors, protesters push for stiffer sentence in death of foster child
EDMONTON - An Edmonton court is once again hearing sentencing arguments in the Lily Choy case. Prosecutors are asking for a much stiffer sentence than Choy received the last time she was sentenced for her crime.
In 2007, a three-year-old foster boy died while in Choy's care. He was alone in the bathroom with Choy when he suffered a fatal blow to the head.
In 2008, Choy was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to three years in prison. Choy successfully appealed her conviction but her new trial ended with the same verdict.
Now prosecutors say she should go to prison for 12 to 16 years. Choy's lawyer will make her sentencing arguments on Friday.
Meanwhile, outside of the courthouse, a handful of protesters showed their support to the family of the young boy who died while in Choy's care.
Jamie Sullivan says she knows how the family feels. Her daughter died on April 11th, just six days after being taken from Sullivan and put into a foster home. Sullivan blames the foster system and hopes the courts impose a stiff sentence on Choy.
"It makes me very angry that people are doing these things to our children," Sullivan said. "I mean, they're supposed to be protecting our kids."
Sullivan says she still has not been told how her daughter died.
Source: Global Edmonton
Demonstration at Law courts
Some Edmontonians will be looking for your support tomorrow for another demonstration.
On the day when former foster mother Lily Choy is scheduled for sentencing, Marilyn Koren of Edmonton is encouraging people to come out to support the family of the boy who was killed while under Choy's care.
She says there are far too many children dying in foster care across the country and that Alberta is no exception, she add's "Alberta is no different than these other provinces and we need changes to stop these senseless killings of our children"
She encourages everyone to come out at 8:30 Monday morning at the Law Courts building to lend their support. (JSL)
Edmonton aunt convicted of manslaughter in death of foster child
An Edmonton woman has been convicted of manslaughter in the death of one of six children under her care.
The woman, 26, was originally charged with second-degree murder in the four-year-old girl's death, but pleaded guilty to the lesser offence in Court of Queen's Bench on Monday morning.
The six children were placed with the woman in August 2008 by Alberta Children and Youth Services. The woman was an aunt of the six siblings, who could not be taken care of by her brother and his wife.
The woman was unemployed at the time and the children's expenses and rent were paid for by the government. Over the 2008 Christmas holidays, one of the children visited his biological parents and returned home with the news that the family would be getting back together.
"(His) statements to his siblings had a disruptive effect on the other children," according to an agreed statement of facts. The girl who later died was particularly bothered and began to rebel against her aunt.
Two weeks later, on Jan. 13, 2009, the aunt's common-law husband called 911. When paramedics arrived, the girl was found dead on the floor of her bedroom, clad only in a diaper.
An autopsy revealed the girl had bruises on her head, legs, arms face and neck. Two of her ribs were fractured and she had serious head injuries.
The woman has admitted to a physical assault on the girl in the agreed statement of facts.
"The accused caused (her) injuries by intentionally applying tremendous blunt force to her," the document reads. Those injuries were caused on Feb. 9 or 10.
The child died of cranial trauma.
"Her symptoms over time included lethargy, vomiting, incontinence; ultimately (the child) lapsed into a coma."
The facts state that no medical assistance was called for in the three to four days the child suffered through the head injury. The aunt attempted to treat the child herself by giving her cough syrup and scooping vomit from her mouth using a T-shirt.
Both the Crown and defence agreed that it is "medically possible" the child's life could have been saved with earlier medical attention.
Crown prosecutor Mark Huyser-Wierenga told court he is seeking a 12-year sentence.
A mental health assessment of the woman states that she was ill-prepared to take on six troubled children in an attempt to help her brother's family.
"She came in as a young parent, having no experience as a parent, taking on these troubled children with a distorted sense of competency," reads the report from psychiatrist Leslie Block. "Taking on such an onerous undertaking seems unrealistic and impractical, given her relative inexperience in parenting, her young age, unresolved personal problems, unstable spousal circumstances and substance abuse problems. The six children had special needs and would be taxing to even qualified foster parents."
The report also states that the woman had "minimal actual contact from Alberta Child and Family Services," despite promised support.
The assault on the girl was due to factors undetected by Alberta Child and Family Services, Block concluded.
Block also said the woman was in an altered state of reality at the time, due to her circumstances.
"Mental state at time of incident was compromised by the drug usage and the overwhelming stress she had been facing," Block wrote. "In my opinion she lacked the capacity to form intent."
The woman has been in custody twice since her arrest in Jan. 2009. She has been behind bars for a total of about two years and three months. Under provincial legislation, none of the family members can be named.
The sentencing hearing continues.
Source: Edmonton Journal
Addendum: A sentence for Lily Choy.
Foster mother gets 6-year sentence in boy's death
Foster mother guilty of manslaughter
An Edmonton foster mother convicted of manslaughter in the death of a three-year-old boy in her care has been sentenced to six years in prison.
Lily Choy, 37, was found guilty by an Edmonton Court of Queen's Bench judge last month.
Choy had been sentenced to three years after she was found guilty of the same charge in 2008, a decision that was later overturned on appeal.
In announcing her sentence Friday, Justice Donna Reed ruled the penalty imposed by the first trial judge was "unfit" because she believed Choy's actions were "much higher on the blame scale."
The boy, who cannot be named under Alberta's Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act, died of massive head trauma in January 2007 in Choy's Edmonton home.
The judge found that Choy abused the boy for a number of days leading up to the final assault that led to his death. The treatment was "callous and cruel," she said.
Choy spanked the child so hard it left bruises and left him in an unheated garage overnight wearing only a diaper. She finally lost control and used severe force to cause his fatal brain injury.
Crown reviewing sentence decision
The length of the sentence angered the boy's family.
"Six years is not fair," his aunt said. "She took this boy's life, my nephew's life, and the judge even said that she was guilty. The way I see it is that you take a life, you deserve life."
Crown prosecutor Allison Downey-Damato said the foster care system can't be blamed for what happened to the boy.
"It's very easy to levy blame at the foster care system and how it handled this case but the bottom line is this woman chose to do this to this child, and chose these actions and chose to have three more children placed in her care," Downey-Damato said.
"This was not something that was foisted upon her."
Choy's lawyer, Mona Duckett, asked the judge to impose a three-year sentence.
Downey-Damato asked for a sentence in the range of at least eight to 10 years. She backed away from her original recommendation of 12 to 16 years after considering appeal court decisions.
Downey-Damato told reporters outside the courthouse that the Crown may consider an appeal since the sentence was shorter than what was requested.
A jury convicted Choy of manslaughter in November 2008. Last year, the Alberta Court of Appeal overturned the conviction and ordered a new trial.
Addendum: This may be the final sentence in the Edmonton Toddler case. The diversionary function of this prosecution is not well served by keeping the name of the scapegoat a secret.
Foster mom gets 7 years in prison
An Edmonton foster mother who pleaded guilty to manslaughter for fatally beating a four-year-old niece in her care was handed a 7-1/2-year prison sentence Wednesday.
However, because the 27-year-old killer — who cannot be named under a provincial law forbidding the identification of people in care — has already served the equivalent of five and a half years, she was ordered to serve two more years followed by three years on probation.
Court of Queen’s Bench Associate Chief Justice John Rooke said it was aggravating that there was “evidence of severe violence” and the woman did not seek medical attention for the brain-injured child for several days.
Rooke also said it was aggravating that the victim was a child and the killer abused a position of trust “where the obligation is to care for the child, not to abuse the child in a way worse than a stranger could.”
As the woman was being sentenced, her brother — who is the father of the victim — stormed loudly out of court.
Later, the mother of both spoke of being “caught in the middle” and feeling “really angry” with the system.
“I love my daughter, but she could have asked for help,” said the mother, before tearfully hugging her son.
She also said the family is still grieving for the child.
“I miss her so much. We all do. She was such a special little girl,” she said, adding she is now caring for the victim’s five siblings and they are all doing well.
Court has heard the woman was given custody of her brother’s six children in August 2008 as a result of him and his wife being unable to care for them due to crack cocaine addictions, and she and her boyfriend lived with them in a rented west-end home paid for by the province.
On Jan. 13, 2009, emergency personnel went to the home and found the victim dead on her bedroom floor. An autopsy determined she had extensive bruising over most of her body, two fractured ribs and bleeding on the brain.
According to agreed facts, the woman caused the deadly injuries by “intentionally applying tremendous blunt force” to the child sometime between Jan. 9 and Jan. 10.
Then, despite the girl experiencing severe brain injury symptoms, such as lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea and ultimately a coma, the woman did not call for medical help.
Instead, she gave her niece cough syrup, used a T-shirt to scoop vomit from her mouth and put a diaper on her.
A defence psychological report — detailing the woman’s drug abuse problems, mental health issues and lack of parenting skills — raised serious questions as to why the province placed the six “crack babies” in her custody.
The child killer earlier apologized in court.
“I’d like to say sorry to my family for what I’ve done,” she said. “I regret it every day of my life. I think about (the victim) every day. She was my niece. They trusted me to take care of her and I failed. I’m sorry.”
Prior to the sentencing, an aboriginal smudge ceremony was held in court, leaving a lingering smell of sweetgrass.
Rooke declined to tackle the issue of whether Children and Youth Services should have placed the children with the woman, saying the case was not an inquiry. However, he noted she did not get “optimum support.”
Source: Edmonton Sun