Infanticide

The offence of infanticide is outlined in section 233 of the Criminal Code.

A female person commits the offence of infanticide when they willingly cause the death of their newborn child because they have not fully mentally recovered from the effects of the birth on their body.

Examples

Person A did not realize they were pregnant and is so shocked when they give birth while taking a bath that they panic and drown their newborn baby in the bathtub.

Person B becomes overwhelmed and depressed raising her newborn baby alone and throws the baby into a dumpster two weeks after giving birth.

Cases

R. v. Pemberton, 2019 ONSC 4206

In R. v. Pemberton, the accused was convicted of one count of infanticide when she secretly gave birth to a living baby girl in her bedroom and immediately suffocated this baby with a bed sheet and sweatshirt before hiding the remains in a plastic bag in her closet.

R. V. L.B., 2008 CanLII 45550 (ON SC)

In R. V. L.B., the accused was convicted on two counts of infanticide for killing her firstborn child 48 days after he was born and, four years later, her third child 68 days after he was born.

Offence Specific Defence(s)

Not their Child

Where the person has not given birth to the newborn child they killed, they have not committed the offence of infanticide.

Not a Newborn Child

Where the person kills their toddler or teenager, for example, and not their newborn child, they will not have completed the offence of infanticide.

No Disturbed Mind

Where the person killing their newborn child is not mentally affected by the effects of the birth on her body, she may not have completed the offence of infanticide.

Unintentional

Where a person accidentally or unintentionally kills their newborn child, they may not have committed the offence of infanticide.

No Death

Where the child does not die, the person has not committed the offence of infanticide.

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