Ex-daycare owner found not guilty on 12 assault charges
Celine Lang was accused of assaulting 10 children and an employee at Memramcook, N.B., daycare
A New Brunswick judge has found former daycare owner Celine Lang not guilty of all 12 assault charges against her, saying actions that included tying a child to a chair and throwing water in the face of another were reasonable.
Celine Lang's two-week trial took place in August before Justice Jean-Paul Ouellette, who delivered his ruling Tuesday in the Court of Queen's Bench in Moncton.
Lang pleaded not guilty to 10 charges of assault against children, and one count each of assault and assault with a weapon for throwing a flower pot at a former employee of her Couvée de la Vallée daycare in Memramcook.
Ouellette ruled Lang's actions were reasonable when she tied a child to a chair and threw water in the face of another.
In the water incident, the judge, while recognizing an assault was committed, said Lang took control of the situation to calm the child, who was short of breath and had blue lips.
He added the Crown failed to show there were other options available to calm the child.
The judge said no assault occurred when Lang immobilized the children during nap time.
He also said the court believed her when she said she did not bite a child.
On the charge of assaulting an employee, Ouellette said the employee's testimony was not credible. He said there were contradictions in Josée Delarosbil's testimony and her refusal to answer some questions.
Ouellette reminds court of presumption of innocence, burden of proof belongs to Crown on assault charges,Lang doesn't have to prove anything—@GabrielleFahmy
Parents who attended court to hear the ruling left crying.
Witnesses had testified about children being bitten by Lang, tied to chairs, doused with water, and immobilized at nap time.
Lang did admit to tying children to chairs to calm them down and throwing water in a boy's face to shock him out of a tantrum, but her defence lawyer argued she used "reasonable force" in dealing with children in her care.
Defence lawyer Hazen Brien used Section 43 of the Criminal Code, known as the "spanking" law, to defend his client's actions.
Last year, the Liberal government vowed to repeal that law.
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With files from Gabrielle Fahmy