Edmonton mother guilty of breaking daughter's ankles, not getting medical help

An Edmonton woman was found of guilty of intentionally breaking both of her two-year-old daughter’s ankles and failing to get medical attention for the child.

Two-year-old girl eventually taken to hospital by grandparents, court documents show

An Edmonton mother was found guilty of intentionally breaking her daughter's ankles and failing to seek medial help for the child. (Josee St-Onge/CBC)

An Edmonton woman was found of guilty of intentionally breaking both of her two-year-old daughter's ankles and failing to get medical attention for the child.

She was also convicted of breaking the girl's arm in a separate incident that could have occurred up to eight weeks prior to the ankle injuries.

The woman was 22 years old when the ankle fractures were caused in March 2016. She can't be identified because of a publication ban.

Her trial was held in Edmonton's Court of Queen's Bench in September.

Justice Wayne Renke found the mother guilty of aggravated assault, assault causing bodily harm, failure to provide the necessaries of life, and causing a child to be in need of intervention. 

His decision was published in late December, and the woman's sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 22.

Judge find use of intentional force

The mother testified that she believed her daughter's ankles broke when she fell from the toilet seat onto the bathroom floor on March 20, 2016.

She told the court that she tried to catch the child, but that her ankles hit the floor hard and "got the worst of it."

The little girl couldn't walk the following day but there were no signs of injury, the woman said. 

She told court that she thought her daughter didn't want to walk because she was ill with a cold.

Medical experts testified at trial that the ankle fractures were not consistent with the type of injuries that could occur in a fall of a few feet, court documents show. 

They noted that the right ankle break was more severe and had caused the bones to be out of alignment. 

"The force was not applied in any sort of 'accidental' circumstance," Renke wrote. "I have inferred, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the force was applied intentionally."

He rejected the woman's testimony that she hadn't noticed that the girl, referred to as A.B. in the decision, had bruised and swollen ankles.

The mother's partner also testified that there was no evidence that the child's ankles were broken.

"In my opinion, the only reasonably available inference from the failure to take A.B. to the doctor was that [the mother] was concealing A.B.'s injuries," wrote Renke.

Child 'in major pain'

Five days after the bathroom incident, the mother took the girl to her parents' house for a planned visit for the weekend.

She testified that she used "some force" to put boots on the child for the trip, and that the girl didn't show signs of being in pain.

The grandparents testified that the girl was lethargic, and cried during the night.

The following day, they noticed swelling around her ankles and decided to take the toddler to the hospital that night.

"She was in major pain," said the grandfather, according to court documents.

X-rays confirmed that the girl had two broken bones in each ankle. 

The tests also revealed that the child's left arm had been fractured in two places up to eight weeks earlier.

The mother said that she most likely caused her daughter's arm injuries when she used "excessive force" to pull her by the arm some time in early February.

But the Crown's medical experts testified that the arm fractures were unlikely to have been caused by an adult pulling on a child's arm.

Renke wrote in his decision that he found it improbable that the girl suffered accidental fractures to her arm.

"The circumstances defy coincidence and the innocent explanation of accident," he wrote.