Man who forced child to sit 13 hours sen­tenced

National Post (Latest Edition) - - CANADA - SIDHARTHA BAN­ER­JEE

MON­TREAL • A Que­bec man was sen­tenced to four months in the com­mu­nity af­ter forc­ing his eight-yearold daugh­ter to sit at the din­ner ta­ble for 13 hours over an un­eaten serv­ing of brus­sels sprouts.

In a case de­scribed by a judge as “aber­rant and dis­turb­ing,” the court heard that both sides dug in their heels over the veg­eta­bles in Jan­uary 2016.

The daugh­ter was not per­mit­ted to go to the bath­room as the stand­off con­tin­ued or change her clothes af­ter she’d soiled her­self.

The fa­ther de­scribed the girl as shiv­er­ing and suf­fer­ing from hy­pother­mia. The court heard she even­tu­ally agreed to eat what was left on her plate af­ter a sleep­less night, only to vomit right af­ter.

Ac­cord­ing to a judg­ment handed down last Jan­uary by Que­bec court Judge Jean-François Gos­selin, only then did the 42-year-old fa­ther from Gatineau al­low the girl to have a shower and go to sleep.

The judg­ment also noted the fa­ther, who was not named to pro­tect the girl’s iden­tity, kept the one re­main­ing sprout on her plate for her to eat upon get­ting up.

Fac­ing four charges, he even­tu­ally pleaded guilty to one count of un­law­ful con­fine­ment and was sen­tenced to four months to be served in the com­mu­nity. He also had to pay a $500 char­i­ta­ble dona­tion and per­form com­mu­nity ser­vice.

The judge de­scribed the fa­ther’s ac­tions as gra­tu­itous cru­elty and said some meth­ods, such as de­priv­ing the girl of sleep, could be con­sid­ered a sort of tor­ture.

“What holds true for a six­month-old baby is also true for an eight-year-old: We do not con­fine an eight-year-old child to the ta­ble for 13 hours,” the judge wrote. “When ten­sion mounts, we de­prive them of play or send them to their room, but sys­temic provo­ca­tion is not an op­tion.

“You do not de­prive a child of sleep for an en­tire night or for­bid them from go­ing to the bath­room. And we do not let an eight-year-old child sit for hours in soiled cloth­ing. When we do so, we vi­o­late their in­tegrity and dig­nity.”

In ad­di­tion to the girl’s ver­sion of the events, the judge in­cluded text mes­sages from the next morn­ing in which the fa­ther told his ex, the girl’s mother, about the stand­off.

The fa­ther, a ju­nior col­lege pro­fes­sor in spe­cial care coun­selling, had no pre­vi­ous crim­i­nal record and had sought a con­di­tional dis­charge.

But the judge ruled his back­ground — teach­ing peo­ple how to deal with dif­fi­cul­ties — served to in­crease the de­gree of re­spon­si­bil­ity he should as­sume.

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

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