OFFENCES AGAINST PERSON AND REPUTATION - Failure to provide necessaries of life - Manslaughter - Jury charge or directions

Law360 Canada (June 10, 2022, 11:28 AM EDT) -- Appeal by the Crown from a decision of the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal that set aside the manslaughter and unlawfully causing bodily harm convictions against Goforth and ordered a new trial. In 2011, two and three-year-old girls were placed in foster care with Goforth and his wife. In 2012, Goforth and his wife took the older child to the hospital in cardiac arrest. She was severely emaciated and dehydrated and had multiple bruises and abrasions on her body. She was placed on a life support machine but died a few days later. The younger child, also admitted to hospital, was severely ill due to malnutrition and dehydration but survived. Goforth and his wife were charged with second degree murder in relation to the death of the older child and unlawfully causing bodily harm in relation to the younger child. The charges were predicated on the failure to provide the children with necessaries of life. Goforth’s wife was convicted. Goforth was convicted of manslaughter and unlawfully causing bodily harm. The majority of the Court of Appeal set aside Goforth’s convictions and ordered a new trial. It found the trial judge erred in describing the mens rea requirements for the predicate offence of failing to provide the necessaries of life and failed to review the evidence of Goforth’s parenting circumstances as a secondary caregiver....
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