Friday, 11 March 2011

Creeps Part IX

About ten per cent of the world's populations are psychopaths. These people; men, women and children alike are people who have never learned to have empathy with other human beings. They cannot and do not care about others. They are the school bullies, the highway thugs who tailgate and weave in front of you without signaling; they borrow money from you with no intentions whatever to return the money. They are wife beaters, nagging wives, children who steal from their parent's purses and wallets, they are the men and women who have unprotected sex with their unsuspecting sexual partners when they are suffering from AIDS, they are the fathers who sire children and then abandon them. They are the kind of people your mother warned you about. Fate being what it is, it is impossible for the remaining ninety percent of the rest of the world's population to avoid coming in contact with these undesirables. However, as we grow older and wiser, we learn how to differentiate the ten percenters from the rest of us.

Everything that follows in this blog is about the kinds of things psychopaths do to qualify as part of the ten percenters and what it was that they did that was so creepy. This does not necessarily mean that because they did something creepy once or twice, that they are necessarily part of the ten percenters. All of us at some time or another will do something creepy in our lives and not really be psychopaths. However, this page is created to illustrate just how creepy some people can be at times.

Jeffrey Baldwin; born on January 20th 1997 was a Canadian child whose death was on November 30, 2002 from septic shock at age 5 (20 days shy of his sixth birthday) after years of mistreatment by his grandparents, Elva Bottineau and Norman Kidman This case led to significant changes in policy by children's aid societies in the granting of custody of children to relatives.

Yvonne Kidman, Jeffrey Baldwin’s mother and Richard Baldwin, his father, began living together when Yvonne was 16. Richard, age 17, had a learning disability and anger management problem. Their first child was soon born and 3 others, including Jeffrey, born January 1997, followed.

Jeffrey Baldwin, and his sister (one year older and unnamed for confidentiality reasons) were removed by CCAS on April 28th 1998 because Yvonne was seen severely shaking Jeffrey. As most people know, shaking a small child can cause not only severe brain damage but also death. Elva Bottineau, Yvonne Kidman’s mother expressed concerns about the well-being of her daughter’s children and two of them went to live with her and Kidman under private custody arrangements approved by CCAS and family court.

The two children, Jeffrey and his older sister were given into the custody of their maternal grandparents, Elva Bottineau and Norman Kidman. According to later court testimony, Baldwin and his sister were kept in a locked room at night with furnace vents shut, and when they were released. they were forced to eat with their hands from a mat on the floor. James Mills, the boyfriend of Baldwin's aunt who also lived in the house, declared that Baldwin's grandmother did not love him or his sister, and that they were purely a "dollars and cents" matter, as his grandparents received social assistance for their care.

Kidman was Bottineau’s longtime common-law partner. The pair were designated as legal guardians for Jeffrey and his sister, who had suffered abuse at the hands of their birth parents.

Bottineau and Kidman used the children as a source of income, collecting government support cheques in their names while they confined them to a dark, unheated room that reeked of urine and feces.

On the evening of November 30, 2002, his grandmother called 911 to report that he was not breathing. Upon arrival, emergency workers noticed that his body was "covered in sores, bruises and abrasions". His weight at death was slightly less than his weight at his first birthday, almost five years earlier.

Jeffrey weighed only 19 pounds; three less than he had at the age of 18 months and resembled a concentration-camp victim, his belly grotesquely swollen, ribs prominently displayed, and skin so desiccated it hung in folds on limbs as thin as sticks. His body was also dotted with red sores and holes, his penis and tiny bum covered in scabs.

Police quickly learned that Jeffrey, and a sister who is a year older, were kept in a small locked room of the house, with nothing in it but two cribs and a small chest. While the little girl was allowed out to attend school, Jeffrey rarely escaped the bleak confines of the room, and was in such distress he would sometimes bang his head on the wall.

On 19 March 2003, his grandparents were arrested and charged with first-degree murder for their role in his death. The trial heard they had kept Jeffrey locked in a bedroom, where he lived in his own feces, and left him to drink from a toilet. The judge was told that the pair used the children as a source of income, collecting government support cheques while offering little in return.

On April 7th 2006, they were convicted of second-degree murder by Justice David Watt in Ontario Superior Court. Sentencing was delivered on June 9th 2006. Bottineau was sentenced to 22 years in prison and Kidman was sentenced to 20 years before they respectively become eligible to apply for parole.

These two creeps appealed their verdicts before the Ontario Court of Appeal. On March 9th 2011, Richard Litkowski, a lawyer for Kidman, told the panel of three judges that his client deserves to be found guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter. He said to the panel of three justices of that court;

“He leaves home at 6:30 a.m., comes home at 4 p.m., eats an evening meal in front of the TV, falls asleep during the news, and then goes to bed at 9 p.m.” Kidman is essentially a passive person in that house. It is Ms. Bottineau who — day in, day out — is in charge of aspects of running that household. Kidman has remained tragically indifferent to Ms. Bottineau’s mistreatment.”

But Justice David Doherty found that portrayal hard to stomach. His response was;

“His bedroom is next to the dungeon that these kids [Jeffrey and his sister, who cannot be named] are being tortured in. I can’t accept that he didn’t know what was going on, living next to this dungeon for five years.”

James Stribopoulos, a lawyer for Bottineau, attempted to convince the judges that the trial judge, David Watt, had incorrectly found that the grandmother was mentally competent enough to know that her actions were causing little Jeffrey to die. The lawyer argued;

“The key here is; did she see death in the foreground? And if she did not, then she is not guilty of murder.”

Justice Robert Blair found that hard to believe. He responded to the lawyer’s argument;

“She had the capacity to run a household of twelve on a very small budget.” And Justice Doherty noted that Bottineau took good care of two of the children in her care, while abusing the two others. He said in part;

“It is something that a six-year-old child could appreciate. If you don’t feed your pets, they die.”

Mr. Stribopoulos also found little sympathy for his other argument, namely that police violated Bottineau’s Charter rights when they entered the home after little Jeffrey’s death and conducted “unconstitutional, warrantless perimeter searches,” well beyond the scope of their search warrant, which uncovered Bottineau’s journal. Judge Doherty’s response was;

“They didn’t look anyplace they weren’t entitled to look, and they didn’t go anyplace they weren’t entitled to go.”

The judge also had little patience for attempts to portray Kidman as blind to the abuse around him. He added;

“There are all kinds of evidence that he knocked this kid around. They both saw the consequence of their not providing the basic necessities.”

The ruling of the court came down on March 3rd 2011. The two appeals in the horrific case of the five-year-old boy who starved to death in his grandparents’ home were dismissed. That was a foregone conclusion.

Justice David Doherty, one of the three judges who heard the appeal, said the trial judge had taken Bottineau’s low intellect into account when sentencing her to life in prison. The judges’ ruling upheld the Crown’s argument that the pair had raised the same issues at trial and there is no reason to interfere with that judge’s decision.

Elva Bottineau, was also convicted on June 10, 1970, of assault causing bodily harm in the death of her own baby daughter, five-month-old Eva.

A Toronto Star story of that date, headlined "Mother put on probation for assaulting her baby," reported that though Eva died of pneumonia the previous February, Toronto Police were called in when an autopsy revealed that the infant had also suffered "tiny fractures of the shoulders, elbows and wrists," and that while Ms. Bottineau at first denied assaulting the baby, she later changed her story.

Due to the developing nature of child-abuse investigations at that time, and the lack of sophisticated diagnostic tools such as bone scans that only became available years later, the assault was then believed to be unrelated to the baby's death.

Modern investigations have shown that pneumonia may be linked to such injuries as rib fractures, which inhibit the ability of an infant or young child to breathe properly or cough to clear her lungs.

The prosecutor in Eva's case was Patrick LeSage, who later went on to become the chief justice of the Ontario Court, and he told Judge Crawford Guest that no purpose would be served by putting Ms. Bottineau, whom he said a psychiatrist had described as "mentally defective, but not mentally ill, and impatient and aggressive," in jail. The judge agreed and sentenced her to a year's probation. As an interesting aside, back in 1964 when I was representing clients in court, Patrick LeSage was the man who was prosecuting my clients.

Eight years later, it was Jeffrey's grandfather's turn in court. Norman Kidman, was convicted of two counts of assault causing bodily harm on December 29th, 1978, in connection with assaults on two of Ms. Bottineau's children, then about five and six, by her former relationship. Mr. Kidman was sentenced to two years' probation and fined $150 for each count by Judge Walter Hryciuk.

The two children were later made Crown wards and subsequently adopted. As you can see; slaps on the wrists do not serve a useful purpose in deterring bad behaviour of criminals.

There is no doubt in my mind that these two creeps are having a hard life in prison. Prison inmates have about as much sympathy for these kinds of creeps as they would have with a bug.

One is forced to wonder why the Catholic Children’s Aid agreed to let these two creeps care for Jeffrey Baldwin. Didn’t they do a criminal check on the suitability of these two creeps before they decided to send Jeffrey Baldwin to his death?

As soon as the grandparents' histories were found in the agency's files, Ms. McConnville, the executive director of the CCAS said that they set about finding out what had gone awry.

As it turned out, she said, "There was no policy at that time that staff check" files in cases where relatives are seeking custody of children considered at risk with their own parents. This is what's known as "kinship care" in the child-welfare business. Jeffrey's case, Ms. McConnville said, "raises the question of whether we approach extended family differently than we do others who are trying to plan for children." It is not unusual, she said, "for family members to come forward where we have protection concerns."

Ms. McConnville stressed that "we did not knowingly place" the four youngsters at risk and emphasized that the discovery of the grandparents' criminal records came after the little boy's death. "There is a policy now," she said. "There wasn't then." To quote a well known German adage. “Too smart, too late.”

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