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2 women accused in Edmonton child abuse case no longer charged with attempted murder

2 women accused in Edmonton child abuse case no longer charged with attempted murder
WATCH ABOVE: Two women are no longer facing attempted murder charges in a case involving children police said were found in a shocking physical state. The women were back in court seeking bail on Wednesday. Kendra Slugoski reports.

The two women who were charged with multiple offences after five children were found in a “shocking environment and physical state” in an Edmonton home last winter are no longer charged with attempted murder.

Two women — aged 25 and 23 years old — still face 22 serious charges. They cannot be named in order to protect the identities of the children.

Each suspect was initially charged with one count of attempted murder in connection with offences against a girl under the age of 10.

After the preliminary hearing on Aug. 30, the Crown said it amended the attempted murder charges to aggravated assault.

READ MORE: 2 women charged with attempted murder in Edmonton child abuse investigation 

On Dec. 16, police responded to a home in northeast Edmonton to check on the welfare of five children. The children, all under the age of 10, were found in “a shocking environment and physical state,” Edmonton police said.

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All five children were taken to the Stollery Children’s Hospital for treatment. Three of the children were treated and released, while two were admitted with serious injuries, Det. Aubrey Zalaski with the Edmonton Police Service Child Protection Section said in January.

No specifics about the children’s injuries were provided, but Zalaski said the five would have been in a much worse state if it weren’t for the babysitter who called police.

Following the preliminary hearing, the 25-year-old woman is charged with two counts of aggravated assault, five counts of unlawful confinement, two counts of failing to provide the necessaries of life and one count of criminal negligence causing bodily harm.

The 23-year-old woman is charged with two counts of aggravated assault, five counts of unlawful confinement, two counts of failing to provide the necessaries of life, one count of criminal negligence causing bodily harm and two counts of assault with a weapon.

Evidence heard at the preliminary hearing is covered under a court-ordered publication ban.

Both women were denied bail back in February and were seeking review of their detention orders on Wednesday.

The 23-year-old woman, whose defence lawyer is Peter Royal, will return to court on Sept. 20.

The review for the 25-year-old woman, whose defence lawyer is Ajay Juneja, was once again denied on Wednesday. Juneja is concerned about the time his client has already spent in custody.

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“Given current scheduling dates, it looks like we’re not going to get to trial until sometime in 2020, most likely in the middle of 2020, which means my client will have been in custody for two-and-a-half years just waiting to assert her innocence on allegations that have yet to be proven.”

Juneja said they now intend to apply for bail through the Court of Queen’s Bench.

The Crown prosecutor is Jayme Williams.

— With files from Kendra Slugoski, Global News