Case Against Lethbridge Woman Accused of Abducting Her Child Back in Court

The 33 year old woman is charged with child abduction, accused of taking her son three years ago and fleeing to Central America. The case has now been put over to December 18th.

A lawyer for a Lethbridge woman accused of abducting her infant son three years ago and fleeing to Belize arguing Wednesday morning (Nov. 15) why he should have access to documents from Global Affairs Canada. Defence lawyer Bill Wister for the 33 year old mother -- who cannot be named due to a court ordered publication ban -- submitted an O'Connor application in September, aiming to have Global Affairs produce relevant documents to use in the case. O'Connor applications are a two step process. First, the applicant must specify how the documents are relevant to the case. If approved, the judge then has to inspect the documents and determine what parts will be made available to the defence. Wister says he's requesting the Global Affairs documents in order to possibly pursue a Charter of Rights and Freedoms breach, arguing that the woman was arrested on a Canada-wide warrant that Belize authorities should not have had access to. He adds that the documents may also lead to other avenues of defence. However, a representative of the federal Crown, Cameron Regehr, notes that -- according to federal law -- the Charter does not apply to Canadian officials in foreign countries, and there's no evidence that the process to deport the accused from Belize was illegal. According to Lethbridge Police, the accused was charged with child abduction and a warrant was subsequently issued for her arrest in February 2014 after she failed to drop off her then 11-month old son with his father, telling him via text message that they were leaving Canada. Regehr outlining in court that the accused was living in Belize under a temporary employment permit that expired on January 14, 2016. Police in the Central American country somehow became aware of that more than a year later, and the woman was arrested by Belize authorities in July 2017. An immigration ordinance was then issued on August 9, 2017, ordering the woman to leave the country immediately. On that day, she was deported to the United States and returned to Canada where she was taken into custody by Lethbridge Police. She remains out on bail at this time under several conditions. The boy, now four years old, has since been returned to his father and is now living in his care. The case will be back in a Lethbridge courtroom on December 18th for Judge Jerry LeGrandeur to make a decision on the first part of the two step O'Connor process. - Sam Borsato

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