Thursday, October 10, 2013

Analysis and range for manslaughter of children

R v Choy, 2013 ABCA 334:

[12]           The judge did not have the benefit of this Court's decisions in R v Nickel,2012 ABCA 158 (CanLII), 2012 ABCA 158, 524 AR 366 and R v SDC2013 ABCA 46 (CanLII), 2013 ABCA 46, as they issued after she delivered her reasons in this case. Nickel laid out a framework for analysis of child abuse cases. In Nickelthe majority stated that "perhaps the most important consideration when assessing moral culpability of the actus reus is the child's exposure to harm", (para 34). Here the exposure was prolonged, and at the hands of a caregiver entrusted to protect and nurture the child. His needs were not only disregarded; they were exacerbated by the injuries heedlessly inflicted upon him.

[13]           In SDC the offender, 23 years of age, killed her four-year-old niece, who was in her custody, by severely beating her over a prolonged period. It was a case of near murder and the court pointed out that in such circumstances the usual range for manslaughter of a child is eight to twelve years, and closer to the upper range of that scale when the child is in the care of the perpetrator (para 49).

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