June 19, 2008
Baby snatcher jailed 5 years
Woman took newborn in Sudbury
By THE CANADIAN PRESS
SUDBURY -- A woman who snatched a newborn from a hospital in Sudbury last November has been sentenced to five years in prison.
Brenda Batisse was arrested at a home in Kirkland Lake hours after abducting the infant from St. Joseph's Health Centre.
The 30-year-old pleaded guilty three weeks later to charges of abduction and endangering the life of an infant.
In passing sentence yesterday, a judge acknowledged that Batisse had been a victim of abuse, but the "enormity of the crime" warranted a prison sentence.
The judge also noted that the kidnapping was planned and committed against a "vulnerable victim."
Batisse's lawyer says an appeal would be filed immediately with a request to have her released on bail until the appeal is heard.
June 19, 2008
Spanking bill gets backing from Senate
By TIM NAUMETZ, THE CANADIAN PRESS
OTTAWA -- A bill that would expose parents to criminal prosecution for spanking their children has cleared the Senate, bound to reopen wounds still sore from a Supreme Court ruling four years ago.
Sponsored by Liberal Senator Celine Hervieux-Payette, the bill passed final reading in the Senate on Tuesday night.
Approval in the upper house followed debate and three days' of committee hearings at which criminal defence lawyers and the Canadian Bar Association argued against the criminalizing impact it could have on parents, as well as teachers and caregivers.
Hervieux-Payette, however, was backed by the children's-rights group that lost the Supreme Court challenge against a provision allowing parents and teachers to strike children for "corrective discipline." She said that if the Commons does not pass the bill she will continue to reintroduce it until it becomes law.
"What I'm saying is every citizen in this country will have their physical integrity preserved," she said in an interview yesterday, adding she believes she will get the support of Leader Stephane Dion to pass the bill if the Liberals form a majority government after the next federal election.
But even Hervieux-Payette's own caucus is divided over the legislation, which the Liberal Senate majority passed over Conservative objections with no recorded vote.
The bill proposes to eliminate Section 43 of the Criminal Code, which says any parent, schoolteacher or a person standing in the place of a parent "is justified in using force by way of correction toward a pupil or child" over the age of 2 and under age 13 "if the force does not exceed what is reasonable under the circumstances."
In a split decision, the Supreme Court ruled in 2004 that the provision "adversely affects" security of the person for children who would be protected by the Charter of Rights, but only to a limited extent that does not offend fundamental principles of justice.
The majority judgment also rejected arguments that spanking and striking children was "cruel and unusual punishment" and cited safeguards against abusive conduct against children.
June 19, 2008
Pastor calls horrific family murder-suicide a 'perplexing medical tragedy'
By James Stevenson, THE CANADIAN PRESS
Members of the Lall family (left to right) Rochelle, Joshua, Alison, Anna and Kristen are shown in a recent family handout photo. The family of a Calgary man at the centre of a disturbing domestic homicide says despite what happened his life's record will show he was a devoted husband and father.
CALGARY - A "perplexing medical tragedy" was behind the horrific murder suicide of a young Calgary family that left five dead, mourners were told Thursday.
Three weeks after Joshua Lall slaughtered his wife, two young daughters and a basement tenant, Pastor Miriam Mollering's brief summation of the horrific crime might be as close to an answer as anyone ever gets.
Mollering led the memorial in which hundreds of people gathered at a Calgary church to laugh, cry and pay their respects to the Lalls.
And despite their tragic end, all the stories told of a happy young family that never uttered a cross word in public and who all loved each other dearly.
A slide show depicted the family always smiling, going on hiking trips or ski lessons, carving pumpkins, playing soccer and blowing out birthday cakes
They heard of young, sensitive Kristen, 5, and her love of soccer. And there was much talk of her precocious three-year-old sister, Rochelle, who was always on the move
Police say Joshua Lall killed tenant Amber Bowerman first with multiple stab wounds, then went upstairs to kill his wife and daughters Kristen, 5 and three-year-old Rochelle.
He then turned the knife on himself, dying in the baby's room nearby the crib where one-year-old Anna was found unharmed the next day.
Police have offered no explanation for the "domestic homicide" and are still awaiting toxicology tests.
Rob Adamson, a friend a co-worker of Joshua's at the Calgary architecture firm where he worked, described him as "a friend to everyone and respected by all for his kind and gentle nature."
In the days after the tragedy, speculation was rampant that despite his outward appearance of normalcy, Joshua Lall's mental health was failing.
Family friend Dr. Katherine Kavanagh alluded to Joshua facing a potential mental illness in her eulogy, but didn't mention it by name.
""As we celebrate the lives of this loving family I'm sure that most of you have come to realize that we are here today because of a medical condition," she said.
"This medical condition could affect any one of us. However, unlike other medical problems like heart disease, diabetes, the majority of us probably do not know what the risk factors are, what the warning signs are, what we should tell our doctors, when and how to get some immediate help that we may need.
"If we could ask Joshua and Alison I'm sure that they would tell you that they thought they were doing everything right. And that they did not know or understand the gravity of the situation. The vast majority of us would have done exactly the same thing that they did."
The Lall's extended families issued a statement through Mollering, saying they were overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from the people of Calgary.
"And certainly together as families they desire to honour the lives of Joshua, Alison, Rochelle and Kristen by having this public service today," Millering said.
"So that together as a community, a city and a family we can help one another find hope in the midst of horrendous loss and despair."
A similar memorial for the Lalls was also held in Guelph, Ont., last week where the two met as students.
A funeral for Bowerman, a 30-year-old freelance journalist who had recently moved into the Lall's basement, was held two weeks ago
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