POLITICS

Winnipeg mom found not guilty to abandonment for leaving child, 6, alone

02/20/2015 04:24 EST | Updated 04/22/2015 05:59 EDT
WINNIPEG - A Winnipeg mom has been found not guilty of child abandonment after leaving her six-year-old son home alone for 90 minutes.

Court heard the mom went out in July 2013 to pick up some medication and visit some clients in her work as a health care aide.

The boy’s father spotted his estranged wife alone in her car and called the home and the boy answered.

The father then called police,who arrived to find the boy safe, sitting in front of the TV with some puzzles and art projects, eating a snack.

Officers described him as a bright, sociable kid and thought he was older than six, and said the house was clean with no immediate dangers in sight.

Judge Margaret Wiebe said while the mom’s decision to leave the boy alone showed poor judgment, the Crown did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the boy was in any danger.

Under the Criminal Code, a person can be found guilty of child abandonment if the child is under 10 and the child could be in danger or permanent injured.

Defence lawyer Mike Law says the mother is relieved.

"You saw how emotional she was. This has been extremely stressful for her,” he said.

Law says a guilty verdict would have been precedent-setting because no record could be found of a parent being convicted of leaving a child around that age in a home with no obvious dangers.

“There was no proof of an intent to harm or no proof that there was an imminent or potential risk,” he said outside court.

The Crown had argued the possibility of danger when leaving a child home alone at that age was enough for a conviction.

Under Manitoba’s Child and Family Services Act, a child under 12 left unattended without reasonable provisions made for his or her supervision and safety can be found in need of protection.

Law says it’s regardless of the verdict, it’s still not a good idea to leave young kids home alone.

“You shouldn’t be leaving your child alone for extended periods of time."

Officers described him as a bright, sociable kid and thought he was older than 6. The house was clean with no immediate dangers in sight.

(CJOB)