Ontario court upholds infanticide law

Infanticide conviction carries lower sentence than murder

The Ontario Court of Appeal has ruled on the conviction of a woman who killed her two children, saying the Superior Court was right to convict her of infanticide, which carries a much lower sentence, instead of murder. The ruling was made on the basis that mothers who kill their infants while mentally ill deserve leniency and do not deserve a mandatory life sentence for murder. Infanticide is punishable by up to five years in jail, and very few such sentences are handed out each year. The appeals court was ruling on the trial of a woman known as L.B., who was acquitted of first-degree murder. Crown prosecutor Jennifer Woolcombe argued that L.B.’s trial judge should not have been found guilty of the lesser offence, but Mr. Justice David Doherty concluded that infanticide was introduced by Parliament in the 1940s to exist as a compassionate “safety valve” that protected new mothers who had become unbalanced.

The Globe and Mail

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