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A Winnipeg man accused of letting his elderly mother die instead of getting her medical care pleaded guilty to criminal negligence causing death Monday morning.
Ron Siwicki was originally charged with manslaughter, criminal negligence and failure to provide the necessities of life. However, the other two charges were dropped.
“It was our considered legal opinion that the standard of care that he provided to his mom was substandard to what the reasonable man would have done,” his defence lawyer Mike Cook said outside court Monday.
His 89-year-old mother, Elizabeth (Betty) Siwicki died in their Garden City home in December of 2014.
Betty fell from her bed in November and Siwicki was unable to lift her up. Instead, he left her lying beside the bed for weeks until she died.
Court hear Monday, Betty has dementia, but it’s unclear what stage her disease was in as she hadn’t been to see a doctor in at least two years.
Siwicki covered her with a blanket and fed her nutritional drinks rather than calling for help or getting her medical treatment.
“His mom had said to him ‘Ronnie I don’t want to go to the hospital. Keep me at home. Take care of me at home’ and Ron had lived with his mom his entire lifetime,” Cook said. “He was still very attentive to his mom. He provided her with food (and) hydration. He took care of her basic needs but it got to a point where he was overwhelmed and he should have done more. He should have called for professional help.”
Betty eventually died, but it’s unclear how long her body was left on the ground before police were called on Dec. 17.
“The carpet underneath… was buckling due to her feces and urine that had collected,” Crown attorney Alanna Littman told the court. “The soles of her feet were black and her hair was matted.”
However, Littman said the woman’s injuries could have healed had someone called for help.
Siwicki tried to clean his mother before police arrived, using water and a cleaning solvent. But when officers attended the home, they found her covered with dried feces, court heard Monday.
Siwicki has been out on bail since January of 2015.
He will be sentenced on June 26.
“The maximum is life,” said Cook. “We are going to be divergent in terms of what we ask for. The Crown is going to ask for a period of incarceration. I’m going to ask for a community based sentence.”