The 34-year-old woman admitted Tuesday to a charge of manslaughter after the Crown agreed to drop a more serious charge of second-degree murder. Lawyers also requested a publication ban on the woman’s name to avoid identifying her other children who remain in care.
She is expected to be sentenced later this year. Crown and defence lawyers said they will not be making a joint recommendation.
RCMP in Stuartburn, Man., about 90 kilometres southeast of Winnipeg, arrested the woman in October 2010 after her daughter was rushed to hospital in grave condition.
"She was unconscious, virtually non-responsive and had extensive bruises, cuts, wounds and swelling covering her head and body," Crown attorney Cynthia Devine told court as she quoted from an agreed statement of facts.
An investigation revealed the girl had been repeatedly beaten over a five-day period before she was taken for medical care. She died three days later after being removed from life support. The official cause of death was listed as multiple organ failure as a result of "inflicted trauma," court was told.
Defence lawyers have ordered a report into the mother’s aboriginal background which could result in a more lenient sentence. That's based on a recent edict from the Supreme Court of Canada.
The deceased child had previously been in the care of provincial child welfare authorities, Family Services Minister Gord Mackintosh said after the killing.
"It appears that the family in question were residents of both northwestern Ontario and Manitoba from time to time and had some historic involvements with child welfare agencies in both jurisdictions."
Internal reviews are underway, Mackintosh said.
(Winnipeg Free Press)