Manitoba

Man who left mother to die on floor heading back to jail

A Winnipeg man who left his mother to die on a floor is going back to jail.

Case could head to the Supreme Court of Canada after dissenting decision

Ron Siwicki, seen in an undated photo, has been sentenced to another 21 months behind bars for failing to take care of his mother in 2014. (Ron Siwicki/Facebook)

A Winnipeg man who left his mother to die on a floor is going back to jail.

The Manitoba Court of Appeal ruled in a decision published Thursday that Ron Siwicki should spend another 21 months behind bars for failing to take care of his mother in 2014.

Justices Holly Beard and Janice leMaistre granted an appeal to the Crown, who argued the sentencing judge last July overlooked substantive aggravating factors in the case and focused too much on the accused's personal circumstances instead of the offence.

But the decision by the three appeal justices wasn't unanimous, paving the way for an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Justice Michel Monnin found Justice Colleen Suche didn't commit an error, was made aware of the importance of deterrence and denunciation and knew all the aggravating factors she could use in a sentence when she ordered Siwicki to spend three months in jail.

Ron Siwicki pleaded guilty to criminal negligence causing death last January, which is an indictable offence with a maximum punishment of life in prison. (Ron Siwicki/Facebook)

Elizabeth Siwicki, 89, fell out of her bed in November 2014 and died from complications of advanced bedsores after spending 26 days on the floor.

The woman was found by first responders on a plastic sheet with a blanket over her. She was covered in feces and urine, her hair was matted and dirty and she had several gaping and infected bedsores on her leg and hip.

"Her death was completely preventable," Thursday's decision says.

Siwicki said after his mom fell, he tried to get her back into bed, but ultimately he left her on the floor. Court heard he gave her Boost drinks and tried to make her comfortable with a pillow and blanket.

But the Winnipeg musician, who had lived with his parents his entire life, never got help for his mom despite having an extensive network of friends.

The Crown argued the sentencing judge, who the Appeal Court said had an "unusual, unique and troubling set of circumstances" before her, erred by not including the woman's vulnerable state as a result of her illness.

The fact she relied entirely on her son and couldn't get help from others, her death was preventable and the accused could have easily helped his mom but instead hid her condition from others were all aggravating factors the judge ignored, the Crown said.

The Crown said Siwicki concealed the filth his mother was lying in at the time of her death and was dishonest about the amount of time she had spent on the floor because he knew his actions would be looked at negatively by others.

The Court of Appeal found the sentencing judge focused on the accused's actions without assessing his level of fault, leading to an unfit sentence of three months in jail.

Siwicki pleaded guilty to criminal negligence causing death last January, which is an indictable offence with a maximum punishment of life in prison.

A request for comment from Siwicki 's lawyer made on Friday morning wasn't immediately returned.

About the Author

​Austin Grabish landed his first byline when he was just 18. He joined CBC in 2016 after freelancing for several outlets. ​​In 2018, he was part of a team of CBC journalists who won the Ron Laidlaw Award for the corporation's extensive digital coverage on asylum seekers crossing into Canada. This past summer, he was on the ground in northern Manitoba covering the manhunt for B.C. fugitives Bryer Schmegelsky and Kam McLeod, which attracted international attention. Email: austin.grabish@cbc.ca