Borowiec: Exploring Infanticide, "a particularly dark corner" and Providing Another Reminder of the Need for Reforming Homicide Sentencing

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Infanticide, Canadian Criminal Code, Supreme Court of Canada, Defence of Mental Health


Borowiec is a restrained judgment, inviting reactions along the continuum from enthusiastic support to virulent condemnation. This controversy is entirely predictable, traceable from the ancient roots of the practice of infanticide through to the relatively new offence in the Criminal Code. Nonetheless, the framing of the discussion on the existence and conditions of the offence has gradually evolved and the case invites further reflection. Some will herald Borowiec's compassionate and equality promoting implications, for it clarifies and smooths the path for the few desperate women charged with infanticide. Others will excoriate the case, characterizing it as a continued betrayal of the citizenship and humanity of the most vulnerable of child victims. There are plausible elements in these contrasting outlooks, with numerous other perspectives on the spectrum of opinion. Owing to this being the first time the Supreme Court of Canada has considered the elements of the sociologically and legally complex offence of infanticide, Borowiec should command attention well beyond its ostensible principal role, as a modest but overdue instance of statutory interpretation.