Canada’s Supreme Court upholds child killing conviction

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Martin Mackay with daughters, from left, Mikayla, Mia and Kierra. His six-year-old daughter Regina weighed only 2st 9lb

The conviction of a man for bludgeoning his six-year-old daughter to death with a hammer will stand, the Supreme Court in Canada has ruled.

Martin Mackay was originally convicted of second-degree murder but a majority of the Supreme Court justices overturned the verdict.

At a court in B.C. he said he should not have been convicted and called the Supreme Court ruling an outrage.

He has said the death was a “heartbreaking accident” caused by mental illness.

Mr Mackay, 35, who is from western Ontario, has never formally apologised for causing the death of his daughter, Regina, who was found dead at her home in the small western province of Saskatchewan in 2010.

He claimed he killed her in an accident as he was trying to beat a savage attack he’d suffered against his ex-wife.

When the Crown withdrew the murder charge, Mr Mackay was jailed for life in 2012 with a minimum 15-year term.

‘Repeated physical abuse’

Eight months into his sentence, he tried to kill himself after he was placed in solitary confinement because of the jail riots triggered by another Canadian defendant, Jody Rotherham.

The three justices who upheld the conviction by seven to one said Mr Mackay’s involvement in the siege was “part of the event or a continuum with it”.

They also found it was “more likely than not” Mr Mackay had used “unnecessary violence” to protect his wife from a “repeated physical abuse” by her former partner.

Survivors of the protests against solitary confinement in Canada describe Mr Mackay as “incredible” for being so gentle, Canadian court documents say.

Mr Mackay’s lawyer had argued at his appeal that his client was not capable of appreciating the severity of the harm he had done or the consequences.

An expert witness said Mr Mackay would not be able to self-justify his actions or justify his injuries.

However, the Canadian review team refused the request to remove the charge.

The Saskatchewan government said it was disappointed by the decision, in which it had requested Mr Mackay’s whole sentence be doubled.

In 2016, the Supreme Court quashed a decision that had sought to ban the sentence of life imprisonment without parole for 25 years as punishment for third-degree murder.

That decision handed a reprieve to troubled Canadians who would face much longer prison terms if convicted of murder.

The case will now go back to the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal for a final ruling.

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