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Judge slams youth protection for failing to protect sibling of slain Quebec girl

MONTREAL — The younger sibling of a slain seven-year-old Quebec girl will remain with a foster family and under the supervision of Quebec's youth protection system, which was severely taken to task for the way it previously took care of the child.

Quebec Court judge Mario Gervais released two decisions regarding the child Tuesday, in which he strongly criticized the province's youth protection network in the administrative region of southern Quebec.

The death of the young child's sister sparked outrage in the community of Granby, east of Montreal, and raised questions about the province's ability to protect vulnerable young people, leading the government to order a number of investigations.

The girl was found in critical condition in her family home on April 29 and died a day later in hospital. Her father faces four charges: criminal negligence causing death, unlawful confinement, failing to provide the necessities of life, and child abandonment.

And her stepmother faces one count each of second-degree murder, unlawful confinement and aggravated assault. The two will be tried separately but they will have a joint preliminary inquiry that's tentatively planned for mid-February.

Gervais accepted the request by the youth protection service to entrust the sibling of the slain girl to the care of a foster family. He also granted supervised visitation rights to the child's biological mother.

The judge said the child, who cannot be identified, was an abuse victim who suffered incredibly and who also witnessed serious abuse committed against the seven-year-old sister.

Gervais said Quebec's youth protection service violated the rights of the sibling of the slain girl. He said the province's youth protection service had already stated in court in 2018 that the child was at serious risk living at home.

He said the risk to the child persisted and the youth protection system's initial fears materialized.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Jan. 14, 2020.

The Canadian Press




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