WINNIPEG — A Winnipeg man who left his mother on a floor for weeks until she died has been ordered to spend more time behind bars.
The Manitoba Court of Appeal overturned a 90-day jail sentence given to Ronald Siwicki and replaced it with a two-year term minus three months credit for time served.
Siwicki’s 89-year-old mother, Elizabeth Siwicki, suffered from dementia and fell out of her bed in 2014.
Court was told the senior was unable to get up but did not want medical attention and wanted to die in her home.
Ronald Siwicki provided his mother with nutritional drinks and water but never called for help, and she died more than three weeks later from bed sores so severe they went down to her bones and became septic.
In a split decision, the Court of Appeal ruled the trial judge imposed a sentence that did not reflect the severity of the crime.
“The sentencing judge erred by focusing on the personal circumstances of the accused, when deterrence and denunciation were the primary sentencing principles, and by imposing a sentence that is not proportionate to the gravity of the offence and the degree of responsibility of the accused,” Justice Janice leMaistre wrote on behalf of the majority.
“The accused had an extensive network of friends, as well as his nephew, who offered him support after his mother’s death. Yet he did not ask for help from anyone while she was still alive.”
Justice Michel Monnin had a dissenting opinion.
“It is clear that the accused was misguided in the handling of the situation before him but, in my view, the sentencing judge accepted the fact that although the accused’s response was not an appropriate one, it was not one of the high blameworthiness as the Crown alleges, due to the nature of the relationship that existed between mother and son,” Monnin wrote.
Siwicki, 67, pleaded guilty to one count of criminal negligence causing death.
Court heard how he and his mother had a close, almost unhealthy relationship. She told him how he should spend his time and with whom.
Siwicki told his sentencing hearing that he had stayed close to his mother since birth, wasn’t allowed to leave town and his mother discouraged romantic relationships.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 18, 2019.
Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press