Friday , August 12 2022

Charges remained against 4-year-old Serenity guardians



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Charges against two guards of a four-year-old girl known as Serenity have remained.

The man and woman were jointly charged with failing to provide the necessities of life and ordered to stand trial after a pretrial hearing in Wetaskiwin in March. The allegations are not related to Serenity's death in 2014.

Alberta Justice said evidence called in the pre-hearing hearing led to a re-evaluation of the case by crown prosecutors.

"Following that reconsideration and consideration of senior officials within the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service (ACPS), the Crown has determined that the matter is no longer in compliance with the standard process of reasonable likelihood of conviction," said Eric Tolppanen, deputy prime minister of the ACPS. in a statement.

The crown entered a stay of proceedings on Tuesday.

READ MORE: 2 defendants on the occasion of 4-year Serenity were ordered to appear

"A key duty of a crown prosecutor is to evaluate cases consistently and to ensure that all aspects of the evidence are carefully considered at each stage of prosecution," Tolppanen explained.

"Overall, Crown consideration of a case continues to evolve after the initial decision is made to prosecute, and Crown prosecutors continued to evaluate the evidence considering the trial's reasonable likelihood of conviction."

"This may result in changes to the initial charges, such as charges being added, upgraded, stayed and / or withdrawn."

MORE: Serenity's caregivers face criminal charges

The child died in 2014 after he was taken to a hospital with a head injury. A report by an Alberta Child and Youth Advocate said doctors noticed that Serenity had a hematoma at various stages of healing and was "significantly heavy."

No family members in this case can be named to protect the identity of Serenity's two living siblings.

Serenity and her siblings lived with family members appointed through the family care program and then given permanent custody.

Alberta Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer said Tuesday that the Conservative government was not involved in the decision to stay the charges.

"This is an agonizing case," Schweitzer said in a statement.

"The decision to continue the trial was taken independently of the Crown lawyers without any involvement of elected officials."

Schweitzer said the crown has one year to possibly reinstate the charges and that a murder investigation is pending.

"The Crown must assess a case consistently in accordance with the standard of prosecution of" reasonable likelihood of conviction. "

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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