Allegedly abused tot taken off life support, reportedly dies
The Supreme Court of Canada building in Ottawa, Ont. (JOHN MAJOR/QMI Agency Files)
EDMONTON - A 30-month old girl allegedly abused by her parents has died after being taken off of life-support, according to several media reports.
It comes after an appeal to keep the toddler on life support was denied by the Supreme Court of Canada.
The 30-month-old child, referred to only as "M" in court documents, was found May 25 in her home in Edmonton.
She was severely injured and had suffered cardiac arrest and has since been in a coma in hospital.
Her parents are being accused of putting her in that state.
On Wednesday, the Alberta Court of Appeal ruled that an earlier court decision to take her off life support could not be appealed, stating "the child's condition is irreversible and no further medical intervention is warranted."
But Thursday morning a motion was filed to try and bring the case to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Late Thursday, it was learned the appeal to stay the decision had been denied.
The Supreme Court's decision means two-year-old M, in a vegetative state and not expected to recover consciousness, could be taken off the ventilator that had been keeping her alive.
That could mean new charges for her parents.
"Right now, the charges are aggravated assault and failing to provide the necessities (of life). If she died the charges could be upgraded," said Michelle Davio, spokeswoman for Alberta's Justice and Solicitor General office.
According to Peter Sankoff, professor of criminal law at the University of Alberta, there are a range of options for upgrading charges.
They include similar but more severe charges to the ones they already face -- failure to provide necessaries causing death and criminal negligence causing death -- to the most severe manslaughter charge.
That change is a significant one, Sankoff said, but not one that would have a major impact on sentencing if the parents were found guilty.
"Any time you put death into the equation it's a more serious charge, that's just the nature of the beast," he said.
"I don't see significant additional jail time simply because of the death of the baby ... so close to death either way I just don't see it as making a massive difference."
He said the sanctity of human life is an important factor in a final ruling, but practically speaking, a sentence would be similar regardless of the charges they face.
"There is no functional difference between the three. What needs to be proven is slightly different, but at the end of the day they're all facing a maximum of life imprisonment," he said.
A bail hearing for the parents of M is set for Friday in Edmonton.