Calgary Herald

Thursday, April 11, 2002

Mother to accept onus for 2 deaths

Lawyer expects guilty plea to lesser charge

Daryl Slade
Calgary Herald

A 23-year-old mother will admit to being responsible for the deaths of her two young children, her lawyer said Wednesday.

"I anticipate resolution of the charges by way of guilty plea," Bob Batting said outside Court of Queen's Bench.

"That will take place on July 3 and 4."

Rie Fujii, 23, is charged with second-degree murder in connection with the deaths last summer of 18-month-old son Domenic and three-month-old baby girl Gemini.

Fujii, wearing blue jeans and a white blouse, showed little emotion as she was led into court by security for the brief two-minute hearing before Associate Chief Justice Allen Sulatycky.

Batting would not discuss the specific charge to which his client would plead guilty, but it is not expected to be murder in either case.

More likely, the plea will be to either the lesser charge of manslaughter or perhaps an even less serious charge.

Batting hinted at this by noting there would be expert evidence called in July.

The evidence is expected to deal with the issue of intent or lack of intent that would presumably reduce the crimes to less than murder.

Domenic's body was found in Fujii's deserted Victoria Park apartment on June 5, 2001. His sister's body has never been found.

Batting said his client has been faring as well as possible, considering she has been in custody for nearly a year.

"She has been in virtual isolation . . . for security reasons," said Batting. "So considering what she's going through, it's as well as expected."

Fujii came to Canada from Japan four years ago and briefly attended Mount Royal College as a student in English-as-a-second-language.

During her stay here, she met Peter Brown, the children's father.

Fujii briefly returned to Japan in 1999, then re-entered Canada on a six-month visitor's visa.

When she turned herself in to police last June 6, Fujii had been in Canada illegally for more than a year.

She will remain at the Calgary Remand Centre until the disposition hearing.

© Copyright  2002 Calgary Herald