Crown appeals ‘unfit’ sentence for man who left mother to die on floor
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This article was published 14/08/2018 (1751 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Prosecutors are calling on Manitoba’s top court to review an “unfit” jail sentence imposed on a Winnipeg man convicted of leaving his elderly mother on the floor to die after she fell out of bed.
The Crown has filed a notice of appeal arguing Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Coleen Suche made legal errors when she sentenced 66-year-old Ron Siwicki to three months in jail for criminal negligence causing the death of his 89-year-old mother, Elizabeth, in 2014.
“The learned sentencing judge erred in her assessment and treatment of aggravating and mitigating factors and in her consideration of relevant sentencing principles. This resulted in an unfit sentence,” states the notice of appeal, filed in court earlier this month.
A date for a hearing in the Court of Appeal has not yet been set.
Siwicki is being held in custody at Headingley Correctional Centre after he was sentenced July 10. His sentence is set to expire Aug. 20. He was given credit for one month in custody for the time he spent behind bars following his December 2014 arrest.
He pleaded guilty to criminal negligence causing death, admitting that he left his mother on the floor for about three weeks after she fell out of bed in November 2014. She didn’t want her son to call for medical help, and he left her there, covered in her own feces and urine, until bedsores developed, got infected and caused fatal sepsis.
He gave his mother daily nutritional supplement drinks and water, but didn’t call 911 or try to clean her up until after she died.
Crown prosecutors sought a three-year prison sentence — a far cry from the three months he received.
Siwicki’s defence lawyer, Mike Cook, said he’s disappointed in the Crown’s decision to appeal.
“We will vigorously oppose the Crown’s appeal. We take the position that Justice Suche very appropriately weighed all of the sentencing principles and came up with a perfect sentence for Mr. Siwicki,” he said Tuesday.
When she imposed the sentence, Suche said she accepted Siwicki felt “overwhelmed” and wasn’t in a position to properly care for his mother, who had dementia and was known to be strong-willed. She’d previously been angry with her son when he tried to bring in outside help and suggested home care for her, court heard.
“I am satisfied he was not acting out of cruelty, self-interest or lack of concern, but out of ignorance and a misplaced sense of loyalty or obedience. No doubt he was overwhelmed by his situation,” Suche said.
Siwicki was a guitarist in a local band and lived with his mother in Garden City. His father and older sister had previously died, and court heard that he didn’t know how to live on his own or care for his mother.
Katie May is a general-assignment reporter for the Free Press.