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Montreal mother convicted of whipping her 11

Dec 18, 2023Dec 18, 2023

Despite the mother denying the assault ever happened, a judge ruled photos of her son's injuries showed otherwise.

A Montreal mother has been found guilty of assault for repeatedly striking her 11-year-old son with a leather belt and phone cable over the boy missing a test at school.

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While the mother denied beating her son, a Quebec Court judge ruled the evidence presented in the case — including many photos of the boy's wounds — points toward the assault taking place.

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"Although a parent is permitted to use force to correct a child, such force must not be excessive and must be used for the benefit of the child's upbringing," Quebec Court Judge Dennis Galiatsatos ruled last week, "not motivated by bad temper, frustration, impatience or excessive anger."

Given the boy's age, the mother and son's identities are covered by a publication ban.

According to the decision, in the spring of 2021, the boy's teacher noticed he seemed troubled after returning from his lunch hour at home. When his teacher asked him what was wrong, he told her what he had been through.

The boy later told investigators an argument erupted between him and his mother after she learned he hadn't given her a letter from the school informing her he missed a spelling test.

He said that in an outburst of rage, his mother ordered him to drop his pants, turn around and put his hands up. She then struck him several times across the legs and buttocks with a black leather belt.

"By reflex, the child tried to block the blows with his arms," the judgment states, "but the accused told him to pull them up immediately, threatening him ‘5, 4, 3, 2, 1…!'"

The boy told authorities he tried to flee the apartment, but his mother grabbed him by the neck and threw him to the floor.

At that point, he said, he tried to block his face as she slapped and hit him, including one blow with her cellphone. She also whipped him across the leg with a phone charging wire, he added.

The boy said he was told to wash the tears from his face before returning to school and that his mother left him with a warning: "If you say something to school or to your teacher, you will see."

Authorities took at least 50 photos of the boy's injuries at a police station the following day. Many of them matched up with the events he described.

They showed several bruises across his arms, thighs and knees, and cuts on his legs that could correspond to a metal belt buckle. A whip mark on one leg also seemed to be caused by a thin wire.

In her defence, the mother denied the assault ever took place but could not explain how her son suffered the injuries documented in the photos.

Contrary to what the boy said, she argued it was her son who grew irate after she confronted him about the missed test, screaming and pushing her around the apartment.

She argued the injuries could be explained by the boy getting into a fight with classmates that day, and that if she had beaten him at home, it would have been foolish on her part to send him back to school.

The judge, however, rejected the idea as completely implausible.

"In this case, (the mother's) version, although firm and persistent, comes up against the photos of the child's injuries, which are objective, material and reliable," Galiatsatos wrote. "Basically, the pictures don't lie."

The defence also argued the boy's testimony contained contradictions, including that he couldn't say how many times his mother hit him.

But Galiatsatos ruled the boy — 11 at the time of the assault, 13 at trial — shouldn't be expected to recount precisely what happened given the flurry of blows he received.

The judge noted the boy wasn't talkative during his testimony, seeming embarrassed and uncomfortable throughout. He also showed no resentment toward his mother.

"He expressed that all he wanted was for his mother to stop hitting him."

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