Infanticide Vs Murder In Canada

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“A female person commits infanticide when by a willful act or omission she causes the death of her newly-born child, if at the time of the act or omission she is not fully recovered from the effects of giving birth to the child and by reason thereof or of the effect of lactation consequent on the birth of the child her mind is then disturbed” (Canada’s Criminal Code, S. 233). In Canada, since 1977, eighty-six women have successfully mitigated the possible charges of a murder charge by using the legal defense of infanticide (The Star, 2010). Infanticide should not be used as a legal defense. Regardless of the mental health condition of the mother, infanticide is still murder and should have the same punishment: a minimum of 25 years in prison.…show more content…
Whether the life is taken intentionally or by complete accident, the punishment can and should be very severe. On the other hand, under the Criminal Code of Canada, infanticide is a crime which is not even considered to be equal to homicide. Infanticide and murder are both considered to be two completely different segments in the eyes of the law. Even though infanticide and murder share many similarities, their sentences are completely different. For killing another human, without suffering from any mental condition, a person would be charged with murder depending on the circumstances of the crime. If convicted, that person would face a minimum of twenty-five years in prison without the chance of parole. On the other hand, a mother charged with killing her child under the age of one may find herself in prison for a mere five years if convicted. According to the Criminal Code of Canada, the maximum sentence possible for a crime of infanticide is five years. There is no minimum sentence. If the mother can prove that she suffers from a mental illness known as postpartum depression, she can mitigate the number of years she spends behind bars by a staggering twenty years or more. Even though the possible punishment is different, these two crimes share many similarities. Murder and infanticide are two crimes that are both based on the killing of another human being. Murder does not…show more content…
Judges, lawyers, and other members of the legal community all over Canada believe that infanticide should not be used as a legal defense. Isabel Grant, a law professor who specializes in mental health and criminal law at the University of British Columbia argues that infanticide should not be used as a defense even though a killing like this is less culpable than murder. “The vast majority of women would risk their lives to save their baby and in these cases something goes terribly wrong” (Grant, 2010). Grant argues that even though a woman suffers from a mental condition, it is not fair to be more lenient to the mother when treatment is so easily attainable in a country such as Canada. She believes that the mothers that use infanticide as a legal defense basically use that as an excuse in order to avoid a life time sentence in jail. Grant also says that Canada should think about scraping the infanticide law and focus on sentencing the woman accused of this crime more appropriately. In addition, another legal representative that is against infanticide is Jennifer Woollcombe, Crown Counsel as of 2010. Woollcombe’s argument is that when the law of infanticide was enacted in 1948, there was a much greater social stigma surrounding infanticide and how it was considered such a great sin. She believes that this defense for murder should be abolished completely because it is

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