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Judgment expected Thursday in Batstone murder sentence appeal

Case of South Surrey mother who killed her daughter due to conclude in Vancouver court
A judgement was expected today (Thursday) in South Surrey mother Lisa Batstone’s appeal of her sentence for second-degree murder in connection with the December 2014 smothering death of her eight-year-old daughter Teagan. (File photos)

A judgment on Lisa Batstone’s appeal of her sentence for the killing of her daughter Teagan is expected Thursday morning in the BC Court of Appeal in Vancouver.

Following a hearing of the case Tuesday morning (May 10), the appeal panel – Justices David Harris, Sunni Stromberg-Stein and Karen Horsman – said they expected to deliver their decision at 9:30 a.m. on May 12.

In March 2019, the South Surrey mother was found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of her eight-year-old daughter Teagan Batstone, whose body was found in the back of a car in a cul-de-sac off Crescent Road on Dec. 10, 2014.

The court had heard that Batstone smothered her daughter with a plastic bag while Teagan slept, and had tried to suffocate herself, unsuccessfully, afterwards.

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Later in 2019, Batstone learned that she would not be able to apply for parole from her automatic life sentence for at least 15 years.

A bid to overturn her conviction failed last fall, when appeal-court judges found that trial judge Justice Catherine Murray had not erred in her conclusion that Batstone had intended to kill her daughter.

Tuesday’s appeal of her sentence was aimed at reducing it to 10 years without parole.

Co-counsels Eric Gottardi and Caroline Senini cited legal precedent in several successful appeal cases in arguing that, in imposing sentence, Murray should have given more weight to the extent that mental disorders had determinined Batstone’s actions.

“(Batstone’s) capacity to reason through was not the same as someone else without mental disorders,” Senini said, noting that while it would not affect the verdict, this factor should have been given greater consideration in choosing a sentence.

Gottardi and Senini had also pointed out that Murray, in her judgment, had made some errors about the kind of bag used to suffocate Teagan, and the length of time that suffocation had taken.

But Crown appelate counsel Mark Levitz said that Murray’s errors had had no bearing on the sentencing decision, and that her sentencing judgment had made it clear that she had considered the role that Batstone’s mental disorders had had in the murders.

Levitz said Murray was correct in concluding that this was “minimal” in what she termed an “egregious breach of trust” between parent and child.

Notes left by Batstone after the crime – including a letter meant to be discovered after her own death – left little doubt of her intent and desire for revenge against Teagan’s father and others, he said.

“Fifteen years is the right sentence in this case,” Levitz added.

– with files from Tracy Holmes

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