CanadaCalgary couple guilty in son's staph death appeal convictions, sentences
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CALGARY — A Calgary couple found guilty in the death of their 14-month-old son are appealing their convictions and sentences.
Jennifer Clark and her husband Jeromie Clark were sentenced in June to 32 months in prison for criminal negligence causing death and failure to provide the necessaries of life.
The trial heard that their son, John, didn't see a doctor until the day before he died in November 2013 and a forensic pathologist testified the boy was malnourished and died from a staph infection.
Jennifer Clark's lengthy handwritten notice of appeal says defence lawyers did not bring up inconsistencies in Crown medical expert testimony.
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It also says the jury heard overwhelming, conflicting evidence and did not have the necessary medical knowledge to know whether doctors were explaining proper procedures.
During the trial, the Clarks' lawyers argued doctors at the Alberta Children's Hospital were to blame for John's death because they raised his sodium levels too aggressively.
"The medical doctors who are suspected of medical malpractice/negligence (massive sodium overcorrection, massive fluid overcorrection) were given expert witness status at trial," Jennifer Clark wrote in the notice filed Tuesday.
She said the Crown had six experts while the defence could only afford one, former Alberta chief medical examiner Anny Sauvageau, who now works as a consultant.
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"The numbers could have biased the jury," Clark wrote.
In his sentencing decision, Queen's Bench Justice Paul Jeffrey said the Clarks posed no threat to society, but prison time was needed to set an example for other parents who might delay getting medical care for their children.
Jurors saw photos of the dead boy with a red rash all over his body and with blackened toes. They were also shown screen shots of online searches for natural remedies for gangrene, such as cabbage leaves and cayenne.
Clark, who is incarcerated at the Edmonton Institution for Women, said she intends to apply for a legal-aid lawyer and, if a new trial is ordered, she wants it before a judge alone.
Jeromie Clark's appeal and Jennifer Clark's appeal could be heard together.
Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press
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