No jail time for woman who fled to B.C. with daughter
A woman who fled Ontario with her infant daughter after a custody battle two decades ago, has received a conditional sentence of two years less a day for her actions, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Patricia O'Byrne disappeared from Toronto with her 20-month-old daughter in May of 1993, leaving the girl's father, Joe Chisholm, without any knowledge of where they had gone.
Chisholm spent many years making public appeals for information about his daughter's whereabouts, including videos he published on YouTube and blogs he posted online.
In September of 2011, the Missing Children Society of Canada received a tip that O'Byrne might be living on Vancouver Island. A few months later, police arrested her at a home in Victoria.
At the time that O'Byrne was arrested, police said she and her daughter were living under assumed names.
A publication ban prohibits the media from identifying O'Byrne and Chisholm's daughter by name.
O'Byrne pleaded guilty to abduction earlier this year. She apologized for her actions.
While O'Byrne told the court that she abducted her daughter to protect her from her common-law spouse, police say that her actions were not based on fact.
She was sentenced in a Toronto court on Tuesday, to a conditional sentence of two years less a day, to be served in the community. O'Byrne will be allowed to return to British Columbia.
Outside court, Toronto police Const. Alan Fujino said that he understood the judge who sentenced O'Byrne had many factors to consider in the case.
Fujino, who helped confirm O'Byrne's identity prior to her arrest, said the sentence appeared to square with what the victims wanted.
"I can't comment if I'm happy with the sentence or not, but it’s what the victims would want in this case," Fujino said.
With a report from the CBC's Ivy Cuervo