Tag Archives: infanticide

Infanticide Crown Appeals denied Leave by SCC

SCC justices Abella, Binnie and Rothstein denied the Crown  leave to appeal  in Her Majesty the Queen v. L.B. (Ont.) and Her Majesty the Queen v. Katrina Ann Effert (Alta.) (links are to Court of Appeal judgments on Canlii).

Here’s the IFLS post from the day the decision in LB came down, here’s a post from the day before the OnCA hearing.

Something to read and something to listen to: "Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother" & Ursula Franklin

I’m told that the March 8 (international women’s day) edition of the CBC Radio program The Current has something for those of you in need of an Ursula Franklin fix.  Now 89, Franklin (public intellectual, scientist, Quaker, pacifist, and feminist) was on the show with two other women (including Erin Cardone, a BC reporter who thinks that Feminism has Gone Too Far).  Apparently Franklin’s thoughts are (as usual) standouts for her ability to marry clarity and complexity.  Here’s her wikipedia page, and here’s the link to the radio programme, on the theme “Women’s Work and the State of Feminism”.  And here is a review of The Ursula Franklin Reader: Pacifism as a Map by my colleague Mary Jane Mossman, Osgoode Hall Law Journal, Vol. 45, No. 4, 2007.

For lawyers and others, Franklin’s essays offer much needed inspiration, as well as concrete suggestions on how to use her maps of pacifism and feminism to help achieve justice, “step by bloody small step.”

The same edition of the Current, March 8, has an powerful story on the non fiction book by Xinran, Message from An Unknown Chinese MotherHere is a review from the Financial Times of London.

Abortion is illegal in China. So is infanticide, but girls don’t qualify for the regular grain ration allotted to other family members, nor for the official grant of land reserved for their brothers. Their weddings cost money and, once married, a woman works for her parents-in-law – not her own parents. “I was ridding the family of a calamity,” said a former midwife, describing how she disposed of unwanted girls.

None of the women who told her their stories was heartless. Their lives were corroded, in many cases ruined, by suppressed feelings that poured out to Xinran, who founded and ran for seven years in the 1990s the first Chinese radio programme for women to call in and talk about their problems. Stringent economic and social sanctions governed their lives and eliminated choice. [source]

My colleague who pointed me to this story has two daughters.  So do I.  And, of course, can’t help but think it, so does Amy Chua.  Ok, lots of people have two girls (Michelle Obama!), I know it. But perhaps it gave this story a special sting for me.

I thought I knew China, that I knew Chinese women — because I’m a Chinese woman. My mother is a Chinese woman. I was very shocked when I went to China’s countryside for the first time, when I witnessed these kinds of killings.” [source]

Infanticide decision in L.B from OntCA

The decision in LB came down today, clarifying some issues around infanticide.  LEAF intervened in this case, and certainly the decision is the one they wanted.

Judges and juries weighing murder charges against a mother accused of killing her infant will still be allowed to apply the lesser charge of infanticide, Ontario’s top court has ruled.(from CBC link below)

Here’s the CBC on the outcome Here’s the Court decision. Here’s a bit from the informative  LEAF media release:

“In the past few years, we have seen what appears to be an emerging trend of the Crown charging women who have killed their newly-born children with murder instead of infanticide.  The result is that these women face life imprisonment,” says LEAF Legal Director Joanna Birenbaum.  “This is a significant concern to LEAF since the offence of infanticide, which carries a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment, is intended to account for the complex and gendered social, economic, psychological and medical context in which the offence occurs.”

And here are the earlier posts on this topic.  Sorry this one got on the blog a bit late today.

The Gendered Social Context of Infanticide: R. v. LB (appeal hearing today)

LEAF (the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund)  is intervening in this test case, which is being heard by the Ontario Court of Appeal today and tomorrow (Sept. 23 and 24).  LEAF’s argument (presented by prominent criminal lawyer and Osgoode Adjunct Faculty member Marie Henein) is

“where the elements of infanticide are present, the infanticide offence should be available to women regardless of whether the Crown charges murder. This approach is consistent with the clear intention of Parliament to include the offence of infanticide in the Criminal Code.”

The quote is from LEAF’s Press Release. Links to other national coverage are below:

Globe and Mail article

National Post article

This National Post editorial came out firmly against the defence.

I’ll post any news from the hearing when I find it.