This case concerned the availability of the defence of infanticide. 

LEAF intervened before the Supreme Court of Canada. 

Facts 

Meredith Borowiec admitted delivering three babies and leaving each of them in a dumpster. Two of the babies died, while the third survived. Ms. Borowiec was charged with two counts of second degree murder. The trial judge acquitted her of murder and found her guilty of two counts of infanticide. The majority of the Alberta Court of Appeal upheld the trial judge’s decision. The Crown appealed to the Supreme Court. 

Arguments 

LEAF argued that the mitigating framework for infanticide set out in the Criminal Code continued to be relevant and reflected the principles of substantive equality. The framework reflected the social context of women’s inequality, and the role played by this social context in the “disturbances of the mind” experienced by some women who kill their newly born children. The requirements of the Criminal Code reflected the complex interaction of social, economic, psychological, biological, and cultural factors that play a role in the mental state of these women.  

Outcome 

The Supreme Court dismissed the Crown’s appeal, and found that infanticide cases warranted a broad and flexible standard. 

LEAF is grateful to Jessica Orkin, Frances Mahon, and Kim Stanton, counsel in this case, as well as Colleen Bauman, Ottawa agent for LEAF.  

Download the factum here.

Read the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision here

Our records are imperfect, but we are doing our best to update them – if you were involved with LEAF on this case but your name is not reflected here, please email us at [email protected].