Two 23-year-old Halifax parents have been charged in an alleged child abuse case involving their seven-week-old daughter, an incident Halifax Regional Police spokeswoman Theresa Rath calls “troubling and shocking.”
Police say the baby has sustained life-threatening injuries, and the mother and father were each charged with one count of aggravated assault Saturday. The parents have been remanded until their next scheduled court appearance Wednesday.
“Unfortunately, we do see cases of child abuse, but this is certainly something that stands out,” Rath said yesterday. “This is very troubling and shocking for police because we’re talking about a defenceless baby who is seven weeks old.”
According to Rath, at about 8:20 p.m. Thursday, the two parents called 911 to report an injured person that turned out to be their baby. Paramedics arrived at the scene and asked for police back-up because, according to Rath, “they were concerned about the situation.”
The child was then taken to the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, and police were told their involvement wasn’t required.
But Rath said police were re-contacted by hospital staff early Friday morning, when they were told “this was a serious case of child abuse.” That started a police investigation that led to both parents being arrested at their Halifax residence on Friday.
“We can’t get into the injuries where it is now a matter before the courts, but what I can tell you is we laid a charge of aggravated assault, and that is the most serious assault charge you can lay under the Criminal Code of Canada,” Rath said.
“If you look at the definition, it involves wounding, maiming or disfiguring, so that will give you a sense of the extent of the injuries.”
Rath said yesterday neither parent has a criminal history, adding that if the baby’s condition worsens, police could upgrade the charges against them.