There is yet another tragic story being reported in the Winnipeg Free Press about a woman who stabbed her two young children and sister being found not criminally responsible because she was suffering from a major mental illness has striking similarities to many of the cases coming before the courts.
The 36-year-old, who can’t be named to protect the identities of her victims, appeared in court on several charges, including multiple counts of attempted murder. She admitted to attacking her four-month-old and nine-year-old sons and sister, 32, with a knife in an unprovoked rampage at her downtown apartment in June 2010.
“Everyone is going to die today,” the woman said after grabbing a large kitchen knife. She also kicked her four-month-old niece across the room before she was disarmed by her sister and held for police. Her two children suffered critical injuries from stab wounds to the stomach but recovered. Her sister suffered minor injuries to her chest; her niece was not injured.
Again as in prior cases, both the Crown and defence lawyers agreed with medical reports stating she couldn’t appreciate the nature of her actions based on hallucinations and paranoid delusions she was experiencing at the time.
Provincial court Judge Rocky Pollack agreed with the not criminally responsible diagnosis, so the woman will not go to jail nor receive a criminal record. She will now be under the care of a provincial review board while receiving medical treatment.
“We have no authority to punish an act that is committed by someone who is not able to form the criminal intent,” Pollack said. “We know now these bizarre and frightening acts took place while she was suffering a psychotic disorder.”
The woman, who came to Canada from Somalia, has no prior criminal record. Previously the Free Press quoted a source stating that she was grappling with post-partum depression and had been hospitalized in February 2010. She told police her husband had been using magic on her and expressed concerns about being poisoned and abducted. Her husband doesn’t live in Canada.
“She is known by family to otherwise be a very caring and loving parent,” Dr. Stanley Yaren wrote in a report presented to the court Thursday. He has been working closely with the woman since her arrest and said she has responded well to anti-psychotic medication. She is unable to recall many details of the attack, which ended with the woman calmly sitting on a couch and waiting for police to arrive. Dr. Stanley Yaren wrote the report on Vincent Li also.
The woman is now back in the community, living under the supervision of medical officials and the Elizabeth Fry Society. Child and Family Services now has custody of her children, court was told. She will continue to undergo treatment and will appear before the review board within three months to determine if she can remain an out-patient or should be brought into a secure facility such as Selkirk Mental Health Centre.
The question begs to be asked…. If she was reportedly hospitalized in February 2010, why was the treatment provided not adequate to avert this tragedy yet after a couple of sessions with Dr. Stanley Yaren she is fit to live in the community now?
Thankfully she is not allowed to have any contact with her children unless supervised visits are approved by CFS