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CRIMINAL CODE OFFENCES - Offences against person and reputation - Homicide - Second degree murder - Assaults - Assault causing bodily harm

Thursday, June 15, 2017 @ 8:34 AM  

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Appeal by the accused, Monckton, from conviction and sentence for second degree murder and assault causing bodily harm. The accused met his girlfriend in August 2009 and moved in shortly thereafter. The accused's girlfriend had a son, age two, from a prior relationship. The accused became the child's primary caregiver following his loss of employment in November 2009. In January 2011, the accused sent his girlfriend a message at work asking her to call 911 and come home. The girlfriend found her child lifeless on his bedroom floor while the accused performed CPR. Paramedics were unable to revive the child and he was pronounced dead at hospital. An autopsy revealed an array of numerous serious injuries indicative of sustained child abuse. The accused was arrested following an interview with police. He did not testify at trial. He denied harming or killing the child. He took the position that the child's injuries were inflicted prior to his relationship with his girlfriend. The accused was convicted by a judge sitting with a jury. He was sentenced to life imprisonment without eligibility for parole for 15 years. The accused appealed the conviction and sentence.

HELD: Appeal dismissed. The trial judge did not err in instructing the jury or answering its questions. The manner in which the jury was charged did not undermine the accused's position that, based upon a single perpetrator theory in respect of all of the child's injuries, he had to be excluded because of the potential timing of the earlier injuries. The murder verdict was not unreasonable or unsupported by the evidence. There was evidence to support the jury’s conclusion that the accused caused the child's fatal injuries. Furthermore, there was an evidentiary basis from which the jury could reasonably infer that all of the injuries suffered by the child were inflicted by the accused. The degree of force required to cause the injuries supported the finding of the requisite intent for murder. The acquittal of the accused for aggravated assault was not irreconcilable with the convictions for second degree murder and assault causing bodily harm given the elemental differences inherent in each of the offences. The sentence imposed was not unfit given the gravity of the offences and the egregious breach of trust. The parole ineligibility period accorded with other cases involving the murder of young children. The jury found the accused responsible for the shocking abuse of the victim and its recommendations appropriately reflected an elevated level of moral culpability. Fresh evidence regarding the accused's Aboriginal status did not affect the result. Sentence: Life imprisonment; 15 years’ parole ineligibility.

R. v. Monckton, [2017] O.J. No. 2856, Ontario Court of Appeal, J.L. MacFarland, G.I. Pardu and G.T. Trotter JJ.A., June 2, 2017. Digest No. TLD-June122017010