A woman accused of seriously injuring a baby at her unlicensed daycare has lost a court fight for custody of her own child.
In a written ruling released last week, the Court of Appeal of Manitoba upheld a family court decision awarding sole custody of her seven-year-old son to her ex-husband.
The 40-year-old woman was charged with aggravated assault in June 2019, after a six-month-old boy suffered multiple and life-altering head injuries while allegedly at her unlicensed daycare.
"We are not persuaded that the trial judge made any error that would allow us to interfere with his decision," Justice Chris Mainella wrote on behalf of the appeal court.
Police launched an investigation in October 2018, after the baby boy’s parents picked the child up from daycare, noticed he was in medical distress, and called for an ambulance.
Police at the time said officers had been at the daycare earlier that day on an unrelated call and the child was in good health.
The woman is set to stand trial on the assault charge this fall.
A family court judge rejected the woman’s version of events about the daycare incident, citing evidence of police officers and expert evidence as to the child’s injuries. In awarding sole custody of their child to the woman’s ex-husband, the judge noted her "erratic behaviour" and the fact she had chosen not to see her son for six months.
On appeal, the woman sought to introduce further evidence she argued would prove there was an "alliance" between her ex-husband, police and Child and Family Services to make false claims against her, and alleged it was the mother of the infant boy who was responsible for his injuries.
The woman also alleged health information for the injured child was withheld from the trial judge.
The woman made additional claims for custody unrelated to the assault charge against her, including allegations she had been provided inadequate legal representation who deliberately sabotaged her case and the family court judge had been "misled" about her and her ex-husband’s parenting of their child.
"There is… no credible evidence of an illicit alliance… sabotage or any of the other myriad claims that the respondent makes," Mainella said. "In particular, there is no reason for us to have any concern that the custody and access order the trial judge made is not in the best interests of the child."
Someone once said a journalist is just a reporter in a good suit. Dean Pritchard doesn’t own a good suit. But he knows a good lawsuit.