A Nunavut mother has been sentenced to five days in jail and probation of two years after counselling her teenage daughter to kill herself.

The woman, 38, told her 17-year-old daughter numerous times that she did not want her and that she should kill herself.

"These statements were not made on only one occasion, but on numerous occasions over a period of two months," said Justice Susan Cooper.

'It is only through luck and the work of medical and mental health professionals that the daughter is alive today.' —Justice Susan Cooper

"Her daughter took the comments to heart," the judge said in a written ruling released Friday.

"She attempted suicide numerous times. Two of those attempts were immediately after her mother counselled her to do so."

The girl was taken by air ambulance from Arviat south to Winnipeg, where she was hospitalized and has since recovered.

"The nature of this offence is simply beyond the comprehension of right thinking people," said the judge.

"It is only through luck and the work of medical and mental health professionals that the daughter is alive today. While her body might be fully recovered, the psychological and emotional damage is bound to be deep and everlasting."

Intellectual limitations

Court was told the single mother was trying to raise the teenager and one-year-old boy on her own since her live-in partner of three years was in custody. The judge said the woman "has intellectual limitations and may herself have experienced some mental health issues in the past."

The daughter's suicide attempts came to light when she revealed them to a mental-health worker. The mother was later charged with counselling suicide while the teen and infant son were apprehended by the regional social services agency.

The little boy has since been returned to his mother and the teen is also in contact with her, despite a court order that there be no contact. The judge said she was concerned about this and ordered a parental assessment.

The Crown asked for a short, sharp period of incarceration and the judge complied, also ordering strict probation terms.