Calgary

Trial underway for stepfather accused of assaulting 4-year-old causing 'life-altering' injuries

The trial has begun for a Calgary stepfather accused of an assault so vicious it left a four-year-old girl with "life-altering injuries."

Tyler Laberge charged with aggravated assault after stepdaughter suffered brain injury

A 4-year-old Calgary girl underwent brain surgery in 2018 after she was injured while in her stepfather's care. Tyler Laberge, 33, is now on trial for aggravated assault. (CBC)

The trial has begun for a Calgary stepfather accused of an assault so vicious it left a four-year-old girl with "life-altering injuries."

Tyler Eugene Laberge, 33, is charged with aggravated assault.

On March 11, 2018, the girl was being cared for by Laberge. CBC News will call the child Hannah in order to protect her identity. 

At the time of Laberge's arrest, police said Hannah was confined to a wheelchair, did not have full use of the left side of her body and had difficulty with cognition and speech.

Hannah will likely need some form of supportive living care through childhood and beyond.

"She will suffer the effects of that brain damage for the rest of her life," said McCluskey.

'Profoundly unconscious'

On March 11, 2018, when Hannah was brought to hospital, she was "in danger of dying" and was "profoundly unconscious," according to prosecutor Pam McCluskey, who outlined the case for provincial court Judge Terry Semenuk.

Beyond the brain injury, which required emergency surgery, doctors also noticed bruises to the child's body. The bruises were so fresh, they watched the dark marks emerge on Hannah's back and chest.

"[This] cannot be explained by an accident in the home," said McCluskey. 

The prosecution said it will call witnesses to show Hannah was healthy and uninjured before she was dropped off with Laberge while her mother worked. 

Ten months passed between Hannah suffering a life-threatening brain injury and Laberge's arrest. In that time, investigators were granted nine search warrants. 

Defence lawyers Matt Deshaye and Yoav Niv represent Laberge. 

McCluskey and Megan Riddell are prosecuting the case, which is set to last two weeks.

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