Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Abusive mother spared jail time

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A Winnipeg woman has been spared a jail sentence for abusing her five-year-old daughter and then refusing to get her medical care.

The child suffered a cut to her eye which has now resulted in permanent scarring after being shoved into a chair in the 2011 incident, court was told.

Her 43-year-old mother pleaded guilty to assault and was given two years of probation today as part of a suspended sentence. The Crown was seeking three months behind bars.

But provincial court Judge Catherine Carlson cited the unique and tragic circumstances of the accused in dishing out a more lenient penalty.

"A jail sentence is not required or appropriate," Carlson said today.

The woman is hearing impaired, has been bullied throughout her life, has survived cervical cancer, was a childhood victim of physical and sexual abuse, lost a brother to suicide and her husband to a massive heart attack. She also has cognitive issues and is battling substance abuse which may have contributed to the incident.

"This is someone very close to a vulnerable person," said defence lawyer Saheel Zaman. "My client does not have the proper coping mechanisms."

Child and Family Services has now obtained permanent guardianship of the child. The mother is allowed supervised visits.

"I accept responsibility for what I’ve done. I just want my life back. And I want my daughter back," the woman told court just prior to learning her sentence.

The Free Press is not naming her because of CFS involvement and the fact it would identify her child, who is in care.

On the day of the incident, the young girl was running through the house and refusing her mother’s instructions to calm down, court was told. The child has ADHD and other emotional issues which often made it difficult to control her.

Her mother responded by shoving her against a chair, causing the wound. She never took the child to a doctor, which led to it healing improperly.

"What she did was entirely inappropriate. She feels ashamed for what she has done," said Zaman.

As part of her probation, the woman will be required to attend parenting and anger management classes.


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