Port Alberni Valley Times

Baby taken from mom charged with spousal assault

By Shayne Morrow - Staff Reporter
Port Alberni Valley Times
April 20, 2000

An infant boy has been apprehended by the Ministry for Children and Families after his mother was charged with spousal assault. She appeared in provincial court for sentencing.

Laura Lee McConnell, 31, was arrested in the early morning hours of March 15. RCMP were summoned to her home by an interrupted 911 call by a man who told the dispatcher he was being assaulted by his common-law spouse.

Police arrived at the home to find the front door ajar, with the window smashed, the floor littered with broken glass and a fight in progress inside the home. The attending officer reported that the accused, while clutching her baby to her chest, was striking a man about the face.

The victim, who suffered numerous facial lacerations and a black eye, told police he had locked the accused out of the home after she stayed out drinking with a friend. He alleged that she had smashed out the window to gain entry.

The accused, reported to be in a high degree of intoxication, was taken to hospital with injuries to her hand. She was charged with assault and ordered not to return to the home.

The court heard that the accused returned home almost immediately, were she resumed the argument with her spouse. She was then jailed for two days and the child, born on Jan.1, was removed from the home.

McConnell has a previous criminal record, but not involving violence, said crown counsel David Kidd, in recommending a non-custodial sentence.

Defense counsel James Fulford said this was the first violent incident in a one-year relationship, and the couple have reunited. "There are people who chose alcohol and drugs over their children," observed presiding judge Brian Klaver, in passing sentence. McConnell will serve one year of probation, terms of which include a prohibition on consuming alcohol or controlled drugs, plus counseling as directed. The accused is not to attend any establishment where alcohol is the principal product, or possess any weapons.