A six-week jury trial started Monday in the case of a Fort Saskatchewan father charged with second-degree murder in the death of his one-year-old son.
The man, who cannot be identified due to a court-ordered publication ban, is also charged with assaulting his five-year-old daughter.
The incident dates back to November 2019, and took place inside the family’s townhome.
In opening statements to the 14-member jury, the Crown suggested the father woke up from a nap in a state of anger, and knowingly caused the death of his infant son using blunt force, and struck his daughter.
The defense said the accused admits to killing his son, but Rory Ziv said his client “is not a murderer” because he doesn’t have any recollection of the event.
Ziv went on to say the father did not know what he was doing due to a sleep disorder.
He told the jury the man was somehow still asleep, having stopped taking medicine prescribed to help him sleep better two days earlier at the direction of his doctor.
Ziv also told the jury his client had never before used physical violence with his children, “not even a spank.”
He said discipline was left to the children’s mother.
The defense said his client was a framer by trade but hadn’t been working because of back pain, and that “he was dead broke,” and had been borrowing money from family members to get by.
The Crown prosecutor Sandra Christensen-Moore said she intends to call multiple witnesses, including RCMP officers, first responders, civilians, a medical examiner and blood splatter expert.
Ziv said he intends to call a world-famous sleep doctor to the stand, as well as an intimate partner of the accused who he was with after being released on bail.
Christensen-Moore said the children’s mother was away from the home working as a waitress at the time of the alleged offences.
The publication ban imposed by Justice John Henderson also covers the identities of both victims in the case.
Three witnesses took the stand on Monday afternoon; all of them were RCMP members who attended the scene that night.
One constable described grievous injuries to the infant, saying his face was bloodied and bruised.
More witnesses are expected to be called Tuesday. The case is currently scheduled to run for 28 days.