Welcome to my Crime and Justice blog! I am a 19 year old criminal justice student at the University of Winnipeg. I advocate for prisoners' rights, human rights, equality and criminal justice/prison system reforms.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Man sentenced to jail for leaving infant alone while drinking

A Thompson man who left his nine-month-old baby girl alone in a hotel room for 13 hours while he was out drinking has been sentenced to 10 months in jail.

Peter Kanabee, 31, pleaded guilty to one count of failing to provide the necessaries of life.
"This was the biggest mistake I ever did," Kanabee told court Thursday. "I have no excuse... I should have stayed with my daughter at all times."
Court heard Kanabee brought his daughter to Winnipeg last February for a medical appointment. Kanabee arrived at the St. Regis Hotel sometime after 9 p.m., dropped his daughter off in their third floor room and was out the door a short time later, said Crown attorney Terry McComb.
McComb said Kanabee went outside for a cigarette where he met a male acquaintance with a bottle of booze.
When Kanabee returned drunk to the hotel lobby, staff told him he would have to stay in his room or leave the hotel. Kanabee left the hotel without telling staff about the baby in his room.
McComb said Kanabee ended up at a Redwood Avenue house party where he drank nearly a dozen beer and passed out.
Hotel staff discovered the crying baby at 11 a.m. and called police. The baby had not been fed or had a drink for at least half a day and had a severe diaper rash.
Kanabee returned to the hotel at 2 p.m. and was placed under arrest.
The child is now in the care of Child and Family Services.
The baby was "not even a toddler who could knock on a door or yell for help," McComb said. "There is just no ability to trust this individual with children... It's the most egregious act of neglect."
Kanabee never intended to abandon his child, said defence lawyer Rod Brecht.
"He thought he could get away for an hour or two, have a few drinks and get back to the hotel," Brecht said. "Certainly there is no legal excuse for this... dereliction of his parental responsibilities."
Judge Ted Lismer sentenced Kanabee to an additional three years supervised probation and ordered that he have no unsupervised contact with children under 16 years of age.

Dad who left baby to go drinking gets 10 months 
A Manitoba father who abandoned his infant daughter in a downtown Winnipeg hotel room for 16 hours to go and drink at a house party has been sentenced to 10 months in jail.
Peter Kanabee, 31, pleaded guilty Thursday to a single charge of failing to provide the necessaries of life.
'There's just no ability to trust this individual with children.'—Crown attorney Terry McComb
The Crown stayed charges of criminal negligence causing bodily harm and child abandonment.
Court heard that on Feb 11, Kanabee came to the city by overnight bus from Thompson with his nine-month-old daughter so she could attend a medical appointment.
According to the Crown, the pair checked into the St. Regis hotel at about 10 p.m. CT, but by 11 p.m. Kanabee had left his daughter on the floor of the room to go outside for a cigarette.
He met up with a friend outside who offered him liquor. He once tried to return to the hotel but was removed by security for being intoxicated. Without saying anything to guards about the baby in his room, he left and went to a house party in the North End where he drank 10 beers and passed out, Crown attorney Terry McComb said.
Kanabee returned to the hotel at 2 p.m. the next day and was immediately arrested by police who had been called there by staff because of the abandoned baby.
He has been behind bars ever since, after being denied bail a few days after his arrest.

Infant's screams alert staff

The terrified infant was discovered prior to Kanabee's return after guests overheard its frantic screams for attention at 11 a.m.
Staff opened the door of the room and found the baby on the floor behind the door. She was suffering from extreme diaper rash and was taken to a local hospital for treatment.
Police were called and took charge of the situation. After finding Kanabee's photo and ID in his knapsack, they waited for him to return.
He initially told them that he had tried to get back in the hotel three times, but surveillance footage showed he only came back once, McComb said.
McComb asked Judge Ted Lismer to sentence Kanabee to four more months in jail, saying the defenceless infant was completely dependent on him to look out for her welfare.
"She was not even a toddler that could knock on the door or yell for help," McComb said. "His absence relates to his own selfish interest."

'Severe danger'

Kanabee was granted two-for-one credit for the three months he spent in jail before pleading guilty. He was charged just a week prior to a law taking effect that eliminates the time-served credit for remanded prisoners.
Lismer also granted a Crown request that Kanabee serve three years of probation after his release, with special conditions limiting his contact with minors.
"There's just no ability to trust this individual with children," McComb said.
'I get stressed and frustrated and I give up.'—Peter Kanabee
Kanabee has suffered with an alcohol problem for more than a decade, his lawyer said.
He had every intention of going back to the hotel, but the liquor got the better of him.
He passed out and had trouble finding his way back downtown, Rod Brecht said, adding that Kanabee is extremely remorseful.
"Certainly it was a dereliction of his parental responsibility," Brecht said.
Lismer chided Kanabee for putting the girl in "severe danger," saying that it was possible the baby could have been seriously hurt or even died.
In a rambling address to the court, Kanabee promised he was trying to change his life and deal with his addiction issues.
"I didn't have a father figure to teach me right from wrong," he said. "I get stressed and frustrated and I give up.
"I should have stayed with my daughter at all times," he said.
"I'm very sorry, especially to my baby daughter," Kanabee added.

Father jailed after abadoning baby to go drinking
A "SELFISH" father has pleaded guilty to leaving his nine-month-old daughter alone in a downtown Winnipeg hotel room for nearly 16 hours while he drank, partied and passed out.
The 31-year-old -- who can't be named under the Child and Family Services Act because it would identify the child -- was given a 10-month jail sentence Thursday under a joint recommendation from Crown and defence lawyers. He admitted to a charge of failing to provide the necessities of life.
"I didn't have a father figure to teach me right from wrong," the man told provincial court Judge Theodore Lismer. "I get stressed and frustrated and I give up. I should have stayed with my daughter at all times."
The man and his daughter live in Thompson but had come to Winnipeg for a medical appointment. They checked into the St. Regis Hotel on Main Street around 10 p.m. and the father left the room about an hour later. He originally went outside to have a cigarette, but claims he met a friend who offered him some alcohol. The pair then went to a house party in the North End, where he drank at least 10 beers and passed out.
The father returned to the hotel around 2 p.m. the following day and was greeted by waiting police officers. Staff at the hotel had found the child about 10:30 a.m. after a guest reported the sound of crying.

By the headline saying that he "abandoned his baby to go drinking" implies that it was a conscious choice. When you have an addiction, it can overcome you and it is no longer a conscious choice. It's all you think about. Also, this article is biased as it says "the selfish father." An addicted father is not selfish. The article fails to mention that this father has been struggling with an addiction for years, or any other mitigating factors and statements by the defence.  

I completely disagree with 10 months of prison. I dont see what the purpose would be, as I dont feel he is a danger to society and therefore, should not be imprisoned. I agree with his lawyer, that he did not intend to abandon his child, but a small amount of alcohol left his memory and judgment impaired, where he neglected his parental responsibilities and got caught up in continuous drinking. I do believe he made a mistake. The article makes no mention of any prior record, therefore, I dont believe he should be imprisoned. I dont believe prison will have any positive effect on helping him to understand his actions and the consequences and it is not a meaningful sentence. Being far from his family and friends will be a serious deprivation for this man.

I would have imposed 3 years of probation with conditions that he not have any contact unsupervised with children under 16 (and his child), that he participate in a substance abuse program and a positive parenting program. I feel that once he has made steps towards improving himself and his parenting, he should be able to have his child returned. He should also be allowed to return to his home community of Thompson where he could be supervised by a probation officer there, so he is closer to family and friends. He should also be allowed to have supervised visits with his daughter. I understand that he is extremely remorseful and takes responsibility for his actions. 

Prison does not offer effective substance abuse programs and therefore, will not be of any benefit to this man. He should not have been sentenced to prison at all. This man suffers from alcoholism and should have been helped. Being overly punitive will not solve any problems and is no solution. Alcohol abuse is a symptom of deeper problems in a person's life and he should also be provided with counselling. Maybe he grew up in an neglectful or abusive childhood environment. We need to address these issues to prevent further crime. Addicts dont stop being addicts by being sent to prison for crimes they committed while intoxicated. Prison is over-relied on when resources should be used at getting to the root of the problem. Substance dependence is a mental disorder and this man needs assistance not prison. This man obviously has a sense of responsibility and cares for his child as he took her to Winnipeg for a medical appointment. It doesnt sound as if he was neglectful usually. His daughter should be returned to him once he gets his life under control and combats his alcohol problem. He is more of a danger to himself than society.

I don't think that father should have received prison time. Clearly, he
has a serious alcohol addiction which needs to be addressed. He got
caught up in his addiction and unintentionally neglected his parental
responsibilities. Being overly punitive is no solution. Alcohol abuse
is a symptom of deeper problems within a person's life which need to be
addressed, I believe. :)
This man will not be in prison long enough to enroll in any substance abuse programs offered. Therefore, he will basically sit in cell, doing nothing. How is that helping him.. when he could be in the community doing something productive and taking control of his life? If rehabilitation is the goal, which it clearly should be with an addict, then community treatment programs have been proven far more successful and effective, not prison. 

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