A Winnipeg man who left his elderly mother to die on the floor will see more jail time after a court ruling Thursday.
Ronald Siwicki’s original 90-day jail sentence has been replaced by a 21-month sentence after the Manitoba Court of Appeal ruled that the first sentence wasn’t proportionate to the gravity of the crime.
Siwicki’s mother, Betty, fell from her bed in November, 2014. Siwicki said he was unable to lift her up, but instead of calling anyone for help, he left her lying beside the bed for weeks until she died.
At his sentencing hearing in June 2018, the Crown pointed to autopsy reports that spoke of bed sores that extended to the 89 year-old’s bones.
According to the autopsy, she died of complications from advanced bed sores and prolonged immobility from lying on her side.
The Crown described her injuries as ‘akin to euthanizing someone by a baseball bat’.
“His conduct was prolonged over at least 26 days and his mother’s death was directly attributable to his failure to act and easily preventable,” Justice Janice leMaistre wrote in the decision.
“In my view, a sentence of two years’ incarceration appropriately addresses all of the circumstances, including the mitigating and aggravating factors; the accused’s sympathetic circumstances; the relevant sentencing objectives and principles; and the sentencing judge’s inclination to show leniency.”
One of the appeal court judges, Michel Monnin, dissented and found that the original sentence was appropriate.
Siwicki’s defence lawyer Mike Cook said he was shocked by the ruling and will be appealing the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.
“Normally the Supreme Court of Canada only hears matters that have national significance,” Cook told 680 CJOB.
“When there’s a court of appeal decision where there’s a dissent – and there was in our decision… it gives us an automatic right of appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.”
Cook said his client is back in custody, but since there’s a possibility the Supreme Court won’t have time to hear his case until after the sentence is completed, he’s asking for bail pending the appeal.
Siwicki, said Cook, is in poor health, and being locked up won’t help that.
“He’s not a very healthy man to begin with. Bad luck follows bad luck in this case. He was out walking his dog the other day and got knocked down so he’s got a very tender knee. He’d gone for medical treatment and his knee was inflamed and he was walking with a crutch yesterday,” he said.
“I think that addition to his physical pain, he has the thought that he might spend the next 21 months in custody.”