PTSD or Child Torture?

childrenI would like to begin this piece by explaining that this case is disturbing and heart wrenching.

On Feb 12, 2013 an eleven-year-old boy left his family home in search of water after escaping nightmarish conditions. The eleven-year-old boy had been shackled in his basement by his father with only a slop bucket; the boy was naked. He was approximately 50 pounds and had been imprisoned by his father for about a month before his escape.

The court viewed 45 minutes of video showing the father yelling at the boy to repent his actions and ask Jesus for forgiveness for his sins including kissing a girl’s hand in a tree house. He yelled at the boy to stop lying. The boy hopelessly pleads in the video that he can change and would stop picking at the padlocks on his chains. The boy was limited to 2 pita breads with peanut butter a day. The father tortured the boy by beating him, burning his genitals and keeping him chained at all times. All while the rest of the family including the boy’s step- mother continued their lives as normal upstairs. The father and step-mother have been charged with: aggravated assault, forcible confinement and failure to provide necessities of life.

prison The couple are currently out in the community on bail but are forbidden from communicating during their bail. Meanwhile relatives are appalled and in shock after hearing what took place as they were unaware of the torture. The father is a former RCMP Mountie who has argued that he is suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). His defense is that he did not have the mental capacity to make informed decisions let alone understand right from wrong. The father served in the counter terrorism sector of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

The father admitted to torturing the boy and believing that the devil lived in him but when multiple videos of the father torturing the boy recorded on the father’s phone were shown before the court, the father argued he didn’t recognize himself and hated himself after watching the videos. If it can be proven that the father did not have the mental capacity to carry out these horrendous acts, then he will not be criminally convicted.

Why will he not be convicted?

A criminal act in Canada requires mens rea (guilty mind) and actus reus (guilty act). Both factors must be evident in order to convict someone of a criminal act. In accordance to Canadian law, if a person lacks the mens rea, they did not commit the crime with an intent; therefore, they are not responsible for their actions. The patient will likely be admitted into a medical facility to assist in the rehabilitation process.

Views

Some individuals are arguing that the father is hiding behind PTSD and show be held accountable for his actions. Others are arguing that the system failed as the boy had gone to a neighbour’s house at an earlier point and asked for food because he was being punished at home which resulted in a call to the police but no charge was made. Another group of individuals are stressing concern for the former Mountie and the child’s wellbeing.

The child continues to protect his father by arguing that his father was doing the right thing and knows what is best for the child because he is in the RCMP.

What are your views? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

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3 comments

  1. Is cruelty to young children a symptom of PTSD? Are all people with PTSD capable of such cruelty? How can any court acquit him? Even if it acquits him, I hope they won’t send that poor child back to him. I am shocked, really!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts Sonia. I believe the father was trying to argue that his mental state was a result of PTSD and did not allow him to assess what was right or wrong. I imagine many readers would agree with your statements. Many people were outraged after reading about this horrific tragedy.
      The child is currently not with the father and is unlikely to be returned to his care. However, the father is on bail.

      Will keep you posted on updates. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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