ALBERTA

Tamara Lovett, Calgary Mom Guilty In Son's Strep Infection Death, Gets Prison Time

She gave her son Ryan dandelion tea and oil of oregano when he developed the infection.

11/17/2017 13:45 EST | Updated 11/17/2017 18:05 EST
THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Brian Jerome-Facebook
Ryan Alexander Lovett is shown with his mother Tamara Lovett in this undated handout image provided by the child's father Brian Jerome from his Facebook page.

CALGARY — A woman found guilty in her son's death by failing to seek medical treatment for his strep infection has been sentenced to three years in prison.

Tamara Lovett, 48, was found guilty in January of criminal negligence causing death.

Justice Kristine Eidsvik said it wasn't Lovett's fault her son Ryan got sick, but she had several days to get him proper medical care.

Eidsvik said Ryan suffered terribly from his mother's inaction.

The Crown had called for Lovett to spend up to five years in prison while her lawyer proposed one year behind bars and one year probation.

The trial heard Lovett gave her son Ryan dandelion tea and oil of oregano when he developed the infection that kept him bedridden in their Calgary home for 10 days in 2013.

"(Ryan) died an excruciating, unnecessary death," said Eidsvik. "Her failure to bring him to a medical doctor caused his death."

She noted that Lovett is still suffering terribly from grief and has admitted what she did was wrong.

"Her remorse, I believe, is genuine," said Eidsvik.

38 months from arrest to conviction


Defence lawyer Alain Hepner had argued the case should be dismissed because it took too long from the time Lovett was arrested until her conviction in January.

Last year, the Supreme Court of Canada set out a 30-month time frame for superior courts in what has become known as the Jordan decision. But the high court allowed some flexibility for cases in which charges were laid before its order in July 2016.

Lovett's case took 38 months to run its course, but Eidsvik said she subtracted six months for delays she attributed to the defence.

Her remorse, I believe, is genuine.Justice Kristine Eidsvik

That still leaves 32 months, but Eidsvik ruled the transitional exception applies.

"The parties were clearly operating under the old regime," she said. "In my view, it would not be just to set aside a conviction here and enter a stay."

Eidsvik said during the trial that Lovett "gambled away" Ryan's life by treating him herself and not seeking medical help.

Lovett said she thought he had a cold or the flu and didn't think his swollen lymph nodes, an oozing ear infection and jaundiced eyes were anything she couldn't handle.

The trial heard that Ryan was dead well before his mother called 911 to say he had stopped breathing.

Alberta's chief medical examiner testified the boy's body was full of group A streptococcus bacteria, which caused most of his major organs to fail.

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