By KEVIN MARTIN,
September 10, 2010
CALGARY - Suspected baby-killer Stacey Joy Bourdeaux will undergo an assessment to determine whether she was mentally ill at the time of the alleged offence six years ago.
Crown prosecutor Paul Mason on Friday asked Bourdeaux be sent to the Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatry Centre to determine if she had a reduced mental capacity.
If so, Bourdeaux could be looking at a lesser charge of infanticide, instead of the second-degree murder allegation she currently faces.
"The second-degree murder case is one in which the accused is alleged to have murdered a child who was under the age of one year," Mason told Provincial Court Judge Marlene Graham.
He said because of the age of the victim, Bourdeaux is automatically entitled to be tested.
"It's the Crown's application to seek a mental health assessment ... to determine whether or not the accused was suffering a disturbance of the mind that might squarely fit her under the infanticide section of the (Criminal) Code," he said.
A charge of infanticide applies to new mothers who kill their children while their minds are "disturbed."
It relates to women who have not fully recovered from child birth and carries a maximum punishment of five years in prison.
Mason, with the agreement of defence counsel Rupert Joshi, sought a 30-day assessment, but told Graham an extension of Bourdeaux's testing may be required.
Bourdeaux, 33, who appeared in court via close-circuit TV from the Calgary Remand Centre, did not talk during the brief proceeding.
The Calgary woman is alleged to have killed her 10-month-old son, Sean Fewer, on Dec. 27, 2004.
The death was originally determined to be as a result of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
But after Bourdeaux was charged with attempting to murder a second son in May, police revisited the earlier death.
Cops are now saying the child was smothered.
Bourdeaux is currently detained on the attempted murder charge.
She has yet to have had a bail hearing on the murder allegation, which would carry an automatic life sentence if she were convicted.
The case returns to court Oct. 8.