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Infanticide law "should have been taken off the books a long time ago"

August 12, 2016

 The infanticide committed by a Kamloops woman has caused Canada’s seemingly outdated infanticide law in the Criminal Code to once again come into review.  The woman in question is Courtney Saul, who originally received a second-degree murder conviction in 2011 for killing her infant son, can be expected to receive the lesser charge of manslaughter under the legal provisions of this same law. Consequently, the original sentence of life imprisonment would also be downgraded accordingly. The Code essentially stipulates that a woman who kills her infant before having “fully recovered from the effects of childbirth” would thereby be determined to be in a compromised mental state or otherwise “disturbed.” Critics of this Criminal Code law argued that this legal concession is alarming not only because it stereotypes women as weak-willed and/or weak-minded individuals, but also because it sets a dangerous precedent for future infanticide cases that allows culprits to get away with cold-blooded murder simply by claiming insanity.  In addition, it is also a reflection of the now-archaic social values that simply have no place in modern society whatsoever.  To allow such a law to dictate the actions of our courts would simply be folly.  Grant Wilson, a representative of the Canadian Child Council, is of a similar who stated on the record that the law should have been “off the books a long time ago.” B.C.'s Representative of Children and Youth Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond also reasoned that although women can suffer from post-partum depression, it is ultimately a mental disorder and should have no influence with regards to the prosecution of other criminal charges.  Child advocates reasoned that the original charges should still be upheld, and that the five-year prison sentence for infanticide in Canada is quite simply an insult given the absolutely abhorrent nature of the crime.

 

 

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