A woman who was charged with attempted murder after giving her son more than 20 Ativan pills will find out her sentence next month.
The woman, who The Guardian is not identifying because of a publication ban protecting the victim’s identity, appeared before Justice James Gormley in P.E.I. Supreme Court in Charlottetown Wednesday.
Reading from an agreed statement of facts, Crown attorney Gerald Quinn told the court the woman and her ex-husband were involved in court proceedings in Nova Scotia over custody arrangements of the boy.
A hearing was scheduled for Aug. 30, 2018, in a Nova Scotia court in relation to that matter.
On Aug. 25, 2018, the woman crushed about 20 Ativan pills, put them in honey and fed them to her son.
She then took a bottle of Tylenol 3s and cut her arms in an attempt to commit suicide.
Soon after, she called 911 and reported what she had done.
When the police arrived, they found the woman asking her son to throw up because “mommy gave you something bad”.
The boy was treated in hospital, and the court heard he didn’t suffer any long-term health effects from the pills.
During an interview with the RCMP and child and family services the next day, the boy said his parents didn’t get along and he didn’t like living in P.E.I.
When the police spoke to the accused the same day, she told them she didn’t want her son to go live with his father who she described as being emotionally abusive.
The woman told the police she feared her son would be taken away from her and she wouldn’t be able to protect him from her ex-husband.
In a joint recommendation, the Crown and defence suggested a sentence of two years less a day in jail on top of time already spent in custody.
Any sentence of less than two years is served in provincial jail instead of a federal prison.
While the woman’s case was before the courts, she underwent a mental health assessment that found she could be found criminally responsible and was fit to stand trial.
She entered a guilty plea in December after the assessment was completed.
Throughout Wednesday’s proceedings, the woman sat at the defence table with her wrists in handcuffs as she stared straight ahead and occasionally took her thick-framed glasses off to dab at her eyes with a tissue.
During Quinn’s submissions, he said crimes against children always evoke “revulsion”, but more so when it’s a parent committing the offence.
Quinn said that although the assessment found the woman was fit to stand trial it didn’t mean she was in perfect mental health.
He told the court it was one of the most difficult cases he had ever dealt with because the accused said she loved her son so much that she tried to kill him.
“It’s a motivation that makes absolutely no sense,” Quinn said.
Defence lawyer Thane MacEachern told the court the accused had a breakdown that led to her actions, but she changed her intent after seeing her son’s reaction.
“Her only motive at that point in time was to save her son,” MacEachern said.
He also said the accused made a very illogical decision with the result that she hasn’t been able to see her son since.
The joint recommendations also included three years of probation once the woman’s release from custody.
After both sides finished their submissions, Gormley said he had received a lot of documentation on the matter and would take it under advisement.
He adjourned the matter until June 27.