BY Jim Byset
THE TRAVESTY of justice that is the gynocentric Canadian legal system continues unabated with the news that Meredith Borowiec is to receive a paltry 18 month sentence for two counts of infanticide, with a suspended sentence on the charge of aggravated assault. Borowiec killed her newborn babies in 2008, 2009, and attempted to kill another in 2010. Judge Peter McIntyre handed down the sentence yesterday, noting in doing so that it was ‘a terrible case.’
No doubt McIntyre’s assessment is correct. He is correct insofar as two human beings, utterly dependent on the immediate care of their mother were brutally and callously killed – cast aside literally as garbage. It was only due to fortuitous circumstance that her third victim survived. Borowiec’s boyfriend, Ian Turnbull, discovered the baby in a dumpster when he overheard crying. In interviews with police Borowiec, who has given birth four times, admitted to hearing her new-born children cry as she disposed of them.
Mitigating factors in the sentencing were the defendant’s lack of a criminal record and her mental state at the time of giving birth. It was this supposed mental state that enabled the court to change the charges from 2nd degree murder to infanticide. Infanticide, in Canadian law, is treated differently from the crime of murder. It is, from a legal standpoint, a far lesser crime.
Canada implemented the law in 1948 and modelled it closely on the law then extant in Great Britain. The law was used in Britain as a stop gap measure, as the crime of murder was, at the time, a capital offence – meaning women found guilty of killing their newborns would hang. Judges and juries were consistently hesitant to hand down this sentence. It was deemed overly harsh and so the lesser crime of infanticide was introduced to punish the female-perpetrated murder of newborn babies – and to save women from the gallows. (It is perhaps needless to say, but men cannot be charged with the crime of infanticide – regardless of their mental state.)
However, this is Canada in the 21st Century – 66 years later. Women no longer have to worry about having children out of wedlock. There is no social stigma even remotely comparable to that of 1940′s Great Britain. It is simply not accurate or truthful to make that argument. Canadian women have abortion on demand – with no term limits. There are adoption agencies. As unpalatable as it may sound, there are churches, police and fire stations, hospitals – all institutions that would unquestioningly take in a newborn and make sure it is given care. There are countless options available – all of which makes Borowiec’s crimes even more despicable.
In sentencing, Judge McIntyre remarked that all three crimes were committed while the defendant’s ‘mind was disturbed while giving birth.’ If this is the case then why did Borowiec continually lie about her pregnancies to co-workers – passing off her growing torso as uterine cysts? Why didn’t she take precautions to ensure that after the first incident it never happened again? The truth of the matter here is that she knew what she was doing and simply did not care. Concocting a story whereby she underwent mental stress in childbirth, to the point that it led her to throw three babies into dumpsters, all in almost identical circumstances, is utterly ludicrous.
However, it is not surprising that it should work. Since 1977 there have been 86 such cases in Canada. The law was challenged in the Ontario Court of Appeal in 2011 by the Crown prosecution but was ultimately defeated. The Crown challenged the law in the case of a Guelph, ON woman who smothered her two infant sons. They lost the case and the woman known only as L.B. served just one year in prison. The stark reality is that Canadian law and legal institutions are heavily slanted in favour of any woman who stands before them and that crimes – even those as sickening as these can be waved away with nebulous references to mental duress.
As Barbara Kay put it, writing in yesterday’s National Post, it’s now ‘open season’ on unwanted infants. It’s hard to disagree with her assessment. The bodies of Borowiec’s victims were never found and most likely ended up in landfills. It should be remembered – these were human beings. These were people – although we’ll never know their names. We’ll never know their gender; Boroweic never bothered to check before throwing them away.
Their deaths are a stain not just on Borowiec but on those who support her. Their deaths are a stain on the Canadian justice system. Their deaths are a stain on those who stand by, and do nothing.
It is a black day for Canada – and there are more on the horizon.