The tragic case of the Costco crash earlier this month in which a car smashed through glass doors of the store striking Danah McKinnon Bozek and her daughters Miah, 3, and Addison, 6, bring to light the inadequacy of Canada’s Criminal Code.
Danah McKinnon-Bozek (left) was eight months pregnant and underwent an emergency C-section in an effort to save her baby’s life. Her baby, Rhiannon Bozek, was born alive, but died 7 days later and sadly, Addison also died as a result of her injuries.
The driver of the car was charged with one count of criminal negligence causing death and two counts of criminal negligence causing bodily harm.
If one were to consider the provisions within Canada’s Criminal Code that deal with homicide and injury to a child before or during its birth, the driver should have been charged with two counts of criminal negligence since two people died, not one.
Section 223 (2) states, “A person commits homicide when he causes injury to a child before or during its birth as a result of which the child dies after becoming a human being.”
Police indicated that there would be no charge related to baby Rhiannon’s death because “she was not born at the time of the crash.” London police Sgt. Amanda Pfeffer said, “The definition of the Criminal Code has some stipulations that a person becomes a person, essentially, when it is born from its mother in a living state.
Pfeffer is referring to 223 (1) of the Criminal Code which states:
A child becomes a human being within the meaning of this Act when it has completely proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother, whether or not
(a) it has breathed;
(b) it has an independent circulation; or
(c) the navel string is severed.
While this antiquated definition has been the subject of long-standing debate surrounding fetal rights and abortion rights, this case has nothing to do with the issue of abortion. This case is about a born baby.
Rhiannon was injured before her birth, became a legal human being upon her birth and died as a result of her injuries. Section 223 (2) addresses the violation of her rights as a born child.
The legal blindness of not recognizing Rhiannon is an injustice to her and her family.
We have written the Minister of Justice, Prime Minister Harper and MP Gary Goodyear on this matter and we urge you to do the same. See letter below:
The Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
284 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H8
Dear Minister MacKay:
I am writing about the tragic Costco crash that killed six year-old Addison Hall and injured Addison’s sister, Miad, and their mother, Danah McKinnon-Bozek, who was eight months pregnant at the time.
Danah’s injuries resulted in an emergency C-section. Her baby was born alive, but died 7 days later.
The Criminal Code has provisions for addressing the violation of the rights of a born child. Section 223 (2) states, “A person commits homicide when he causes injury to a child before or during its birth as a result of which the child dies after becoming a human being.”
Danah’s baby WAS born in a living state and lived for 7 days. Her baby was beyond the age of viability.
If medical professionals intervened in order to save the life of the baby as a result of the injuries sustained by the car crash, why would there not be legal grounds for a charge in connection with the newborn’s death? Doesn’t this trivialize human rights and the weight of our Criminal Code?
In the eyes of Canadian law, this baby has no value. For the sake of this baby and all children like her, I urge you to demand that charges be laid and that our government revisit Canada’s definition of when a person becomes a human being.