Sentencing of accused who pleaded guilty to criminal negligence causing the death of a two-monthold baby to whom he was a caregiver. One night, woken by the infant’s crying, he shook her, causing severe brain injury. The child was taken to hospital the next day, and eventually died after being taken off life support. Accused was 22 years old, had a limited prior record, and significant Gladue factors.

Held: 5 years, 8.5 months jail.

Laberge, 1995 ABCA 196 and Nickel, 2012 ABCA 158 were the governing cases in determining a fit sentence. “Distinguishing between unlawful act manslaughter and criminal negligence for sentencing purposes risks underestimating the very real danger posed to vulnerable children by criminally negligent acts or omissions, and the importance of the objectives of deterrence and denunciation in this context.” Court found a six-year sentence would be fit, but after deducting over 3.5 years’ credit for pre-trial custody, a small reduction was appropriate to allow for a provincial jail term with 3 years’ probation.

S. Renouf – Defence Counsel