Sentencing decision Wednesday for Calgary couple convicted in toddler’s infection death

A Calgary mother and father convicted in the death of their 14-month-old son are to learn their sentences on Wednesday.

A jury found Jennifer and Jeromie Clark guilty last fall of criminal negligence causing death and failure to provide the necessaries of life.


Calgary parents found guilty of criminal negligence in son’s 2013 death

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Court heard their toddler, John, didn’t see a doctor until the day before he died from a staph infection in November 2013.

Prosecutors argued the Clarks waited too long to take the gravely ill boy to hospital and their sentence should send a message of denunciation and deterrence.

The Crown has asked Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Paul Jeffrey to impose a prison sentence of four to five years.

Jennifer Clark’s lawyer recommended three to eight months in jail followed by probation, while Jeromie Clark’s lawyer asked for no more than eight months or probation.

Prosecutor Jennifer Crews said during sentencing submissions Friday that it’s clear the Clarks loved their son very much.

But the parents were responsible for the helpless child and their failure to seek medical care as he grew sicker over a period of weeks was not a momentary lapse in judgment, Crews said.

Jurors saw photos of the dead boy with a red rash all over his body and with blackened toes. A forensic pathologist’s report said he was malnourished and died from a staph infection.

They were also shown screenshots of online searches for natural remedies for gangrene, such as cabbage leaves and cayenne.

The couple’s lawyers suggested at trial that doctors at the Alberta Children’s Hospital were to blame because they raised the boy’s sodium and fluid levels too aggressively.

David Chow, Jeromie Clark’s lawyer, described the Clarks as “loving parents that were misguided” and questioned what putting them behind bars would accomplish.

John Phillips, Jennifer Clark’s lawyer, said the Crown’s recommended sentence goes too far.

“This is not a case of a child being starved or abused.”

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