Lethbridge Woman Given Conditional Discharge in Cold Kids in Car Case

Lethbridge defence lawyer Darcy Shurtz, representing the 25 year old woman

A 25 year old woman who pleaded guilty to leaving her young child in freezing conditions in a locked car, will not have a criminal record.

A mother who left her toddler in a freezing car during cold winter conditions has been given a conditional discharge, meaning she won't have a criminal record. A judge handing down the sentence in Lethbridge provincial court Wednesday (Mar. 7).

The now 25 year old woman pleaded guilty to failing to provide the necessaries of life. Back in December 2016, two small kids, a three year old girl and four year old boy, were found shivering and crying inside a locked vehicle along 5th Street South. Two women, both mothers of the little kids, were found about an hour later in a nearby bar. Although very cold, neither child suffered any injuries.

The woman's lawyer Darcy Shurtz says his client has turned her life completely around since this happened and he's happy the judge agreed a conditional discharge was appropriate in this case. Court heard the young woman has gone to counselling, is currently in school and doing well, and has taken parenting classes. Shurtz says she has taken more steps than most people do who come through the criminal justice system.

A pre-sentence report noted the woman is extremely remorseful for her actions that cold December night. The Crown was pushing for a conditional sentence of 3 to 6 months followed by a year of probation, however Judge Debow sided with the Defence in this case. Shurtz was asked after what the public perception might be given the sentence and the fact her child was put in danger being left alone in freezing conditions. He says if the public understands the circumstances around what his client has gone through in her life and the steps she's taken since this, "yes they (people) may have a concern about things like this happening in the future, however the public would have more interest in the fact of people taking the steps she (his client) has to change her life so this does not happen again."

Court was told Wednesday that child and family services no longer has any concerns with the young woman as a parent, has closed her file, and has given the child back to the mother. The woman will also be on probation for one year including several conditions. A second woman also charged in the case is set to go to trial at the end of March. Neither woman's name can be released because of a publication ban. - Pat Siedlecki

Darcy Shurtz:

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