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Man acquitted in death of foster son

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A Manitoba dad has been cleared of killing his 13-month old foster son.

Roderick Blacksmith was acquitted Friday of second-degree murder in the death of Cameron Ouskan, court records show.

The decision to clear him came after Justice Deborah McCawley ruled in favour of a "no evidence" motion from defence lawyer Saul Simmonds at a Court of Queen's Bench trial.

Simmonds made the motion at the close of the Crown's case, which featured testimony from medical experts who told court about the nature and possible timing of Cameron's injuries.

Cameron was rushed to hospital from the family home in Gillam, about 1,000 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg, on the night of Nov. 12, 2008, and died several hours later.

Blacksmith was accused of inflicting fatal head injuries, something he always denied.

Neuropathologist Dr. Marc Del Bigio testified on Jan. 28 an exam of Cameron's brain showed brain injuries he suffered happened anywhere from 15 to 72 hours before he died.

Blacksmith had worked all day and Cameron was usually left with a babysitter, including on the day of his death. The babysitter was initially arrested, but never charged, court heard.

An RCMP officer testified under cross-examination that four other children in the home — all biological daughters of Blacksmith and his wife — were not looked at as potentially having injured the baby and that Blacksmith was always co-operative with police.

— with files from The Canadian Press

james.turner@freepress.mb.ca

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