Justice system 'unfair and deficient'
- Karen Kissane
- November 24, 2008 - 8:39PM
Edmonton foster mother found guilty of manslaughter
Last Updated: Saturday, November 29, 2008 | 10:54 PM MT
An Edmonton foster mother covered her mouth and broke down in tears after a jury found her guilty of manslaughter in the death of a three-year-old boy in her care.
The verdict was handed down late Saturday afternoon, following two days of deliberations and a five-week trial.
The 34-year-old woman, who cannot be identified, was charged with second-degree murder after the child died in January 2007 of brain injuries. She was, however, found guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter.
The Crown argued during her trial that she abused the child repeatedly in the month leading up to his death.
The prosecution's key witness, a nanny, testified the boy had a bed-wetting problem and that the foster mother left him in a cold, unheated garage on several occasions, including on the night he died.
Nanny heard screams
The nanny also testified she heard screaming and a thumping noise the night the boy died.
The Crown argued the boy died from a head injury caused by the foster mother and that she made up a story suggesting the boy displayed self-abusive behaviour and died because of an injury he did to himself.
The defence countered that the foster mother loves children and never subjected the child to abuse.
Defence lawyer Brian Beresh maintained the boy died when he leapt from his foster mother's arms and hit his head on a toilet in the bathroom of her house.
Beresh said his client will be appealing the verdict.
"This is one of the strongest defence cases that I have ever mounted or been involved in," he said.
Sentencing is expected to take place sometime in January.