2 accused in case of 4-year-old Serenity ordered to stand trial

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2 accused in case of Serenity ordered to stand trial
WATCH ABOVE: Family and friends of a young Alberta girl known as Serenity have spent days in court listening to details of the child's life and death. On Wednesday, a judge ordered the two people charged in the case to stand trial. Fletcher Kent reports – Mar 6, 2019

Two guardians charged with failing to provide the necessaries of life in the case of a four-year-old Alberta girl will stand trial.

For weeks, family and loved ones of Serenity have been attending a preliminary hearing at a Wetaskiwin court.

The pair will be arraigned in the Court of Queen’s Bench on April 9.

READ MORE: Serenity’s mom vows to sit vigil through Alberta court proceedings

Serenity died in 2014 after being taken to hospital with a head injury. A report by Alberta’s Child and Youth Advocate also said doctors noted Serenity had bruises at various stages of healing and was “significantly underweight.”

No family members in this case can be named in order to protect the identity of Serenity’s two living siblings, who were in kinship care with her prior to her death.

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“My loving, beautiful, wonderful daughter — one of my hugest lessons in life. I hope that her death will be a lesson to everyone that failed her,” Serenity’s mom said earlier in February.

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READ MORE: Alberta preliminary hearing begins for 2 accused in Serenity’s death

Serenity and her siblings had been living with family members designated through the kinship care program and later given permanent guardianship. They were later charged with failing to provide the necessaries of life.

READ MORE: Serenity’s caregivers face criminal charges

Serenity’s family hoped the judge would find there’s enough evidence to proceed to trial. Her grandmother was in court for all 15 days of the preliminary hearing.

“It was traumatizing,” she said. “It re-traumatizes all the families to bring us back to this day.”

Still, she hopes some good will come from this tragedy.

“I think it’s going to bring more recognition for children’s rights,” Serenity’s grandma said. “It’s not just Serenity; it’s many children… We’re going to make change. She’s going to make change.”

READ MORE: Alberta introduces legislation to better protect children in government care

Serenity’s death pushed Alberta’s Child and Youth Advocate to call for better safeguards in kinship placements.

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— with files from Global’s Emily Mertz, Phil Heidenreich and The Canadian Press

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