SURREY — A Surrey mother who nearly starved her little boy to death because she was preoccupied with keeping her business afloat will find out in June if she’s going to jail.
Ironically, the scene of the crime was a restaurant the single mother, 25, owned elsewhere in the Lower Mainland. Her name cannot be revealed because there is a publication ban on any information that could identify her son, who was two years old at the time.
The court heard he had been kept in a back storage room in the restaurant for up to 20 hours a day. He is now in foster care.
His mom pleaded guilty to failing to provide him with the necessities of life.
“I’m sorry for it,” the mother told Judge Melissa Gillespie during the sentencing hearing at Surrey provincial court on Monday. “The experience has been terrible.
“I’m sorry it happened but I will make up for it.”
Gillespie has reserved her decision to June 3rd.
By the time the mother brought her toddler to hospital, Crown prosecutor Colleen Stewart told the Now outside court, “he was near death.”
She hasn’t seen him since.
The court heard that prior to his being brought to hospital the boy was fed not more than 375 calories a day when an average healthy child his age consumes 950 to 1,000.
Asked how that can happen in a restaurant, of all places, Stewart replied that the Crown “brought that to the court’s attention.
“She had the resources to feed him,” Stewart said. “There was food available.”
The Crown argued for a prison term of 18 months to two years less a day followed by two years probation and “strongly” opposes defence lawyer Michael Shapray’s argument for a conditional sentence order, or house arrest, in the 18 to 24 month range.
Shapray argued the Crown is “overemphasizing” the need for general deterrence in this case.
He said his client experienced an “odd upbringing herself” and that a psychologist found the “chaos” in her family compromised her capacity to assume a parenting role herself.
“She didn’t have help,” he said. “She felt alone in raising the child.”
Shapray said the mother was overwhelmed and very distracted by her business. “There was nothing intentional about the infliction of harm in this case.
“She bit off more than she could chew,” he told the court. “She couldn’t handle it.”
“She was very frightened the restaurant was going to fall apart.”
Shapray said his client “fell off the rails” but didn’t intentionally harm her son.
The mother is not in custody. She was released on $5,000 bail.