Nova Scotia

Couple failed to provide necessities of life for son

A Nova Scotia Supreme Court decision says there wasn't enough evidence to convict an Amherst couple of aggrivated assault for their child's brain injuries.

A Nova Scotia Supreme Court justice has found a couple guilty of failing to provide the necessities of life to an infant son who suffered brain injuries.

In a written decision released Wednesday, Justice David MacAdam said the parents had a responsibility to protect their son from a hyperactive, four-year-old stepbrother who they testified may have harmed the infant.

The couple was found guilty of failing to provide the necessities of life to their son.

MacAdam acquitted the couple of aggravated assault charges, saying he had not heard evidence proving they harmed the infant or caused a skull fracture the boy suffered when he was a month old.

The two-week trial heard testimony from the parents that the child's stepbrother could have caused the baby's injuries.

In his decision, MacAdam said the parents were responsible for protecting the infant given the "personality and character of the four-year-old."

"In these circumstances the failure to ensure that (the stepbrother) did not have unsupervised access to (the infant) constitutes a marked departure from the standard of care expected of a reasonably prudent person in all the circumstances," wrote the judge.

The decision says witnesses testified during the trial that the older stepbrother "enjoyed wrestling, both watching and practising on others."

The judge noted that during an interview with the Amherst police the stepbrother twisted the head of the police officer, and efforts of the police officer to stop the boy failed.

The son who was harmed is now two years old.

A date for sentencing has not been set.

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