EDITORIAL: Should she be forgiven?

Nicholas Mercer
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Last week saw one of the more high profile court cases in Conception Bay North in recent memory.

Compass reporter/photographer Nicholas Mercer.

A woman charged with 45 counts in connection with a horrific case of child abuse appeared before the judge presiding over her case. The proceedings lasted under an hour and ended with the woman being convicted on 20 of the 45 counts (see related story).

The court room in Harbour Grace on May 14 bore witness to the largest public gallery in this reporter's memory.

There were numerous members of the media, additional security and even police officers dressed in civilian clothes, as well as students from a local post-secondary institute completing a child and youth worker program.

If the upper part of the gallery had been opened, there would have been more.

The people there to update their bail conditions must have been in for a shock when they showed up and were required to empty their pockets and await a pat-down.

The accused appeared unfazed by the amount of people, or even her charges. She sat stoically in front of Judge James Walsh. Her shoulders never slumped and her head never dipped. She looked straight ahead as her sentencing was read out.

While it's unfair to say she feels no remorse for what she has done, it does beg the question based on her body language. It stood out and was a stark contrast to everyone else in the gallery.

There were audible gasps of shock and people were visibly uncomfortable as the details surrounding her charges were read out, but nothing from the accused. Absolutely nothing.

Is she at peace with what she has done, and has simply placed her fate in the hands of the court? That's something only she can answer, although I doubt she will ever be at peace. The public will not let her.

Why should she be given leniency when her children will never be free? Why were over half of her charges dismissed?

It's because she, like everyone else, is entitled to due process and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

That is a principle our country was built upon and it is one that has to be followed here. We don't live in a dictatorship. We don't live in dystopian society where public opinion rules. We can't rule over the deplorable with an iron fist and shielded worldview.

Maybe she will not get enough punishment from the legal system to satisfy the public's insatiable thirst for justice, but that's not for us to decide.

She will get prison time and she will lose her children. She will forever carry around the stigma of being an abusive mother. Wherever she goes, whether it is the grocery store, the gas station or to the local hair salon, that will be her scarlet letter.

- Nicholas Mercer is a reporter/photographer with The Compass. He can be reached at nmercer@cbncompass.ca.

Organizations: The Compass

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  • Sean
    May 28, 2014 - 13:26

    While I agree with the spirit of what your saying; This "mother" would have never been "sorry" for anything she had done if it wasn't for the law getting involved. She is sorry she got caught, not that she terrorized the kids.

  • forgive the unforgivable
    May 23, 2014 - 09:12

    Forgiveness does not mean forgetting or condoning. Your enemy may not deserve to be forgiven for all the pain and sadness and suffering purposefully inflicted on your life, but you deserve to be free of this evil. When someone you care about hurts you, you can hold on to anger, resentment and thoughts of revenge — or embrace forgiveness and move forward. These wounds can leave you with lasting feelings of anger, bitterness or even vengeance — but if you don't practice forgiveness, you might be the one who pays most dearly. By embracing forgiveness, you can also embrace peace, hope, gratitude and joy. These wounds can leave you with lasting feelings of anger, bitterness or even vengeance — but if you don't practice forgiveness, you might be the one who pays most dearly. By embracing forgiveness, you can also embrace peace, hope, gratitude and joy. There is no punishment great enough to suit the crimes this monster and her husband committed to and on their children, they will hopefully get prison time and never get custody of the children but will they forever carry around the stigma of being an abusive parent?? I think they feel they have done no wrong and if left alone they will continue to reproduce and continue to abuse Innocent children and the cycle will continue.

  • Jackie
    May 21, 2014 - 20:23

    Ate you out of your mind???? The damage done to these innocent children is irreparable! There is not a sentence long enough for this piece of scum!

  • annmarie
    May 21, 2014 - 10:14

    forgiveness? meaning must of changed, i always though forgiveness was something that people sometimes deserved. not in this case, why should she be forgiven for what this done to her children, they will be for ever in hell, there will never be any peace for them. i can,t understand how she can call herself a mother or live with what she done. Always though that everyone had a little voice that would tell you right form wrong, not in this case . well justice will prevail in the end. one day she will have a to answer to a higher power and justice will be served