A woman was found guilty on Monday of attempting to abduct her children in an incident where she says she was just trying to protect them.
The Sun is not naming the woman to protect the identity of her children.
During her trial, the woman argued that she had to take her children away from their father to keep them out of harm’s way. She was charged with two counts of abducting someone under the age of 16.
Judge John Combs said in his decision delivered in Brandon provincial court that he found her actions were disproportionate to the perceived danger to the children and she didn’t look for other ways to get help.
The charges stem from a 2018 incident in which the woman was accused of loading her kids and possessions into a car and driving to St. Albert, Alta., Combs said. Once there, she met a man she communicated with online who had offered her a place to stay.
The man helped the woman get in touch with a victim’s services worker in St. Albert, which ended with her being arrested by the RCMP.
“The accused alleges she abducted the children because she believed they were in imminent danger,” Combs said.
The two separated in 2013 and shared custody of the kids, which resulted in a 2015 court order for the two to have joint custody and share physical time with the kids, Combs said.
During the trial, Combs said she outlined numerous concerns and efforts she made to get help. When the woman separated from her partner in 2013, she alleged the father hit one of the children and threatened to kill himself.
She also alleged the man stalked her and violated a 2013 protection order for him not to have contact with her.
On Mother’s Day 2016, she said she was pushed into a garage by the man, but a police complaint went nowhere, Combs said.
The woman also alleged her former partner had physically and sexually abused the children in a number of ways, including her son’s frequent black eyes and dislocated elbows after being in his care.
She also believed her daughter was being sexually abused.
Then, in the summer of 2017, the accused asked Brandon police to do a wellness check on her children while they were in their father’s care. Combs said the concern was based on the fact that the father’s speech sounded slurred and he wouldn’t send photos of them asleep in bed. The woman was told by police the kids were fine and warned against making false complaints.
Despite all the allegations, Combs said the woman didn’t present proof during the trial to back it up.
“Although she testified she believed her children were being abused when she left in 2018, she had neither observed any further abuse nor had her children complained or any specific allegation of being abused.
“No corroboration was presented supporting any of her concerns and specifically, that her children were being abused.”
He also said there were other alternatives to taking the kids to Alberta that the woman didn’t pursue, like getting legal help.
Combs convicted her of both charges, saying there was no actual evidence of the alleged abuse presented.
Defence lawyer Jennifer Janssens requested a presentence report for the woman. She is next scheduled to appear in court in early November.
» Twitter: @DrewMay_
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .