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The Canadian Press

Supreme Court to hear case on 'no fault' divorce

Canadian Press, September 28th, 2004, VANCOUVER

A man who the B.C. Court of Appeal found was "carrying on behind his wife's back'' and must continue spousal support payments will contest the ruling in the country's highest court because it contravenes the Divorce Act and could have national importance, his lawyer said Monday.

Lawyer Lorne MacLean said his client, Gary Leskun, has given him permission to ask the Supreme Court of Canada to overturn a recent ruling by B.C.'s highest court that ruled Leskun must continue to pay $2,250 monthly support to his 57-year-old ex-wife Sherry Leskun.

MacLean suggested the highest court would likely hear the appeal and either uphold the ruling or reinforce the Divorce Act, which has contained a no-fault provision since 1968.

The act states that "the court shall not take into consideration any misconduct of a spouse in relation to the marriage.''

MacLean suggested the ruling, which is applicable in B.C. and could affect other provincial courts' rulings, could mean a step back from the no-fault provision of the Divorce Act.

"People will now be able to use this case, if it's not overturned, to argue that they should have custody based on spousal misconduct and that divorce should not go through on a no-fault, one-year separation basis,'' he said.

But family lawyer Debra van Ginkel disagreed.

"The case is very much in line with all of the other spousal support cases that have provided ongoing spousal support to a woman, particularly in these types of circumstances where she's got health issues and a lack of skills to access to go back to workforce,'' said van Ginkel.

In writing the unanimous decision, Justice Mary Southin alluded to the no-fault section.

But she goes on to say that "Parliament, in its wisdom or lack thereof, has said the court must give no weight to what the husband here did -- that is, carrying on behind his wife's back and, when it suited him, walking out on his wife of 20 years who had borne him a child and contributed substantially to his financial well-being.''

Southin seemed to acknowledge the section by continuing: "Not without hesitation, I have concluded that (the no-fault section) does not prevent us from considering... a failure resulting at least in part from the emotional devastation of misconduct by the other spouse.''

Van Ginkel said the court might be disagreeing with the conduct section but that the judgment "doesn't turn on that issue.''

"(Southin) is basically saying that this woman has been devastated by the breakdown of marriage and in addition she has other factors that prevent her from avoiding spousal support.''

MacLean said he's not sure of the judge's reasoning but that Southin "just feels that the section is broad enough to consider the impact of conduct on a spouse who refuses to get back into the workforce because they're bitter.''

Southin also conceded that the wife is "bitter to the point of obsession with his misconduct and in consequence has been unable to make a new life. Her life is this litigation.''

The pair separated six years ago.

Sherry Leskun represented herself at the Appeal Court and was not available for comment.

The ex-wife worked for many years for a bank and earned $45,000 the year she quit in 1998. She applied unsuccessfully for long-term disability benefits due to a back problem.

She was later offered another job at the bank that required retraining but opted to take an $88,000 severance package.

Her ex-husband now is remarried and living in Chicago, where he met his current wife and where he was once an executive earning as much as $200,000 Cdn a year.

He has not made any payments since he became unemployed but MacLean said the court has ordered him to make support payments out of existing capital that is in the $300,000 to $400,000 range.

B.C.'s family maintenance enforcement project "will chase my client'' and so the application to the Supreme Court will also ask that all arrears be cancelled as well as the $2,250 monthly obligation.

MacLean conceded that the court did not focus solely on conduct by the ex-husband.

The court, he said, looked at the age of the ex-wife and her lower back pain.

But since she was offered retraining at the bank but chose a severance package, "you can't refuse to take it and then claim support. That was one of our big arguments.''

MacLean's argument is that the court can examine conduct in regards to refusing to take a job.

"But if you've committed adultery, that's the type of conduct that's not supposed to be relied on. You can look at conduct as it relates to a party's ability to be self-sufficient or not, not adultery or affairs.''

Van Ginkel said the act's section means the court can't penalize someone for their misconduct but that's not what this ruling is about.

"What's happened here is that the spouse has a variety of factors that prevent her from being able to be self-sufficient, one of which here is emotional condition.''

Mainichi Daily News| Woman who cut off her newborn son's genitals handed 5-year prison term

Woman who cut off her newborn son's private parts handed 5-year prison term

Mainichi Daily News, Sakai, Osaka, Japan, November 26, 2006

SAKAI, Osaka -- A woman accused of cutting off her newborn son's private parts in 2004 was ordered Monday to spend five years behind bars.

The Sakai branch of the Osaka District Court convicted Shizue Tamura, 27, a resident of Izumi, Osaka Prefecture, of inflicting bodily injury.

"The way she committed the crime was unprecedented, inhumane and cruel," Presiding Judge Masahiro Hosoi said as he handed down the ruling. Prosecutors had demanded an eight-year prison term.  Read More ..

Toronto Sun logo

Mom's death dance


Toronto Sun
September 29, 2004

SINGLE MOM Clara DaSilva admitted yesterday she danced the night away while her 2-year-daughter was dying of dehydration in a sweltering apartment. Tiny toddler Adrianna Maria DaSilva was abandoned for at least 33 hours in a 35C room before her mom discovered her dead on Sept. 9, 2002.

Clara DaSilva, 24, pleaded guilty to manslaughter. Justice David Watt will sentence her shortly after Jan. 17 following a five-day trial with one contested fact -- the allegation that her purse, with keys and cash, was stolen at a club the day of her child's death.   Read More ..

Canadian Press - New Brunswick woman ruled responsible in burning of baby's body

New Brunswick woman ruled responsible in burning of baby's body

ST. STEPHEN, N.B. - A New Brunswick judge says a woman who burned and dismembered her newborn son is criminally responsible for her actions.

Becky Sue Morrow earlier pleaded guilty to offering an indignity to a dead body and disposing of a newborn with the intent of concealing a delivery.

Judge David Walker ruled Friday that the 27-year-old woman may have been suffering from a mental disorder when she delivered the baby but that that was not the case when the baby's body was burned and its remains hidden.

It is not known if the baby was alive at the time of birth.

At a hearing last month, the court heard contrasting reports from the two psychiatrists. One said Ms. Morrow was in a "disassociated" mental state when the crime occurred. The other said she clearly planned her actions and understood the consequences.

Associated Press logo

Woman convicted of killing 3 kids after custody battle


HELSINKI, Finland - A court in Finland has convicted a woman of murdering her three young children and has given her a life sentence.

The Espoo District Court says Thai-born Yu-Hsiu Fu was found guilty of strangling her 8-year-old twin daughters and 1-year-old son in her home.

She tried to kill herself afterward.

The verdict on Tuesday says the 41-year-old woman was found to be of sound mind at the time of the murders.

Court papers show the murders were preceded by a bitter custody battle with her Finnish husband who was living separately from her at the time of the murders.

A life sentence in Finland mean convicts usually serve at least 11 years in prison.

Mothers Who Kill Their Children
Canadian Press - Mother child abuse - sentenced 16 years in jail

Ontario woman convicted of son's starvation death granted full parole

Canadian Press
Wednesday, May. 22, 2002

KINGSTON, Ont. (CP) -- An Ontario woman who was sentenced to 16 years in prison in one of Canada's stiffest penalties for child abuse will be released on full parole after serving less than half her term.

Lorelei Turner, 38, and her husband Steven were convicted of manslaughter in July 1995 for beating and starving their three-year-old son John to death in a case that horrified Canadians who followed the trial.

But on Wednesday, a panel of the National Parole Board in this eastern Ontario city ruled Turner will be released but placed on probation until July 2011.

Until then, she must remain within 25 kilometres of her residence, is not allowed unsupervised contact with anyone under 16, and must continue to receive counselling.

"The board would have looked at the risk and obviously found a low risk to reoffend," Carol Sparling of the National Parole Board said Wednesday.


Yeeda Topham killed her baby son but walks free

Australian Associated Press
December 05, 2008

A WOMAN who killed her infant son by jumping with him from the eighth floor of a city apartment block has walked free after being convicted of manslaughter.

Yeeda Topham, 40, of Roleystone near Perth, had pleaded guilty in the West Australian Supreme Court to a charge of unlawfully killing 21-month-old James Topham on November 5 last year.    Read More ..

Mother Charged with Killing Her Baby

Firefighters Find Baby's Body In Washing Machine

Fire Officials Claim Fire Intentionally Set

NBC4-TV, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

LOS ANGELES, USA -- Murder charges are expected to be filed against a woman whose infant son's body was found in a washing machine after firefighters doused what they say was an intentionally set fire, authorities said Tuesday.

Latunga Starks, 32, was taken into custody last night, according to the Sheriff's Department Web site.

Los Angeles Police Department Lt. Dennis Shirey identified the mother and her nearly 3-month-old son, Michael Kelvin Thompson.

Toronto Sun - Mother found guilty of killing all 4 babies

"Murder in the nursery"
Australian mom killed her 4 babies

TORONTO SUN, May 23, 2003

It seemed a tragic coincidence - at first.

Craig and Kathleen Folbigg's first son died in his sleep at 19 days old. Their next child, Patrick, died two years later at nine months.

Still, it was after their fourth baby died before Australian police suspected something was terribly wrong.

In Sydney's New South Wales State Supreme Court this week, Kathleen Folbigg, 35, was found guilty of killing all four of her babies.

The jury's work would have been made much easier if they had been allowed to read Folbigg's entire secret diary. In it, she practically confesses to following in her dad's deadly footsteps.

"Obviously I am my father's daughter," the Australian woman wrote in her diary Oct. 14, 1996, having already killed three of her four children.

"But I think losing my temper and being frustrated and everything has passed. I now just let things happen and go with the flow. An attitude I should of had with all my children, if given the chance, I'll have it with the next one."

Folbigg was pregnant at the time with her fourth child. She would go on to kill her as well.

Mother Shoots father, has his Baby and then kills the Baby and Herself

Investigation into the Death of Zachary Andrew Turner (18 July 2002 to 18 August 2003)

Zachary Turner, a 13 months old baby, died at the hands of his fugitive mother, Dr. Shirley Turner, who killed him and then committed suicide on August 18, 2003.

Turner was facing extradition to the United States to stand trial for the 2001 murder of Dr. Andrew Bagby, Zachary's father.

28-year-old Dr. Andrew Bagby was found shot to death in Keystone State Park, 55 kilometres northeast of Pittsburgh, PA, U.S.A.

Turner fled to Newfoundland, Canada where Zachary was born. She was out on bail against the wishes of U.S. authorities at the time of Zachary's death. Read More ..