A woman who tried to kill her son by giving him more than 20 Ativan pills mixed with honey was sentenced Thursday morning to two years less a day in jail.
The woman, who The Guardian is not identifying because of a publication ban protecting the victim’s identify, appeared before Justice James Gormley in P.E.I. Supreme Court in Charlottetown to hear her sentence on one count of attempted murder.
In sentencing the woman, Gormley followed a joint recommendation from the Crown and defence, saying it was a case where mercy should be considered.
It would be “cold comfort” to let the spirit of retribution dominate the case, Gormley said.
“This case is a tragedy.”
The woman was arrested in August 2018 after she crushed the pills, put them in honey and fed them to her son a few days before a scheduled hearing in a Nova Scotia court related to custody of the child.
After giving her son the pills, the woman took a bottle of Tylenol 3s and cut her arms in an attempted suicide.
She called 911 soon after to report what she did and told her son to throw up because she had given him something bad.
The boy was treated in hospital, and the court was told he didn’t suffer any long-term health effects.
While the woman’s case was before the courts, she underwent a mental health assessment that found she was fit to stand trial and could be held criminally responsible.
As Gormley read his decision, he said he initially had concerns about the joint recommendation and asked the lawyers on both sides for further documentation.
Gormley said there were aggravating and mitigating factors in the agreed statement of facts, including that the woman reached a “pivotal moment” when she sought help and reconsidered her actions.
There was a low degree of pre-meditation and it was a “poorly conceived emotional response” from someone with mental health issues, Gormley said.
He said the woman accepted full responsibility for her actions, has been seeking help while incarcerated and she had no prior criminal record.
Gormley also referred to a victim impact statement from the boy’s father that said his son misses his mother, especially on special occasions like birthdays.
The statement said the boy doesn't know what happened, only that his mother is sick and is getting help.
After reviewing all of the submissions and the facts in the case, Gormley accepted the joint recommendation, saying he didn’t believe it was “unhinged".
The woman’s sentence will be on top of time she already spent in custody since her arrest and will be followed by a period of probation.
That probation includes a condition she not have any contact with her son unless she has permission from the courts.
She must also undergo any mental health treatment or assessment her parole officer requires.
With the sentence, the woman must provide a DNA sample for the national databank and she will be subject to a firearms prohibition.