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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Sentencing Adjourned in Fatal Grey Highlands Farm Accident Case

Owen Sound | by Matt Hermiz  

Emanuel Bauman was found guilty of criminal negligence in the death of his son.

A father found guilty of criminal negligence in his son's death at a Grey Highlands farm last year will have to wait a little longer to learn his fate.

Justice Julia Morneau adjourned sentencing for Emanuel Bauman until Aug. 8 after the crown and defence made submissions Tuesday at the Ontario Court of Justice in Owen Sound.

The crown is seeking a jail term of two years less a day, three years probation and a driving prohibition of 10 years. The defence is asking for a suspended sentence and two years probation. 

Bauman's four-year-old son, Steven, died on Aug. 31, 2018 in an accident at the Mennonite family's farm on 3rd Concession in Grey Highlands where he fell out of the bucket of a skid steer his father was operating and suffered a fatal head injury.

Bauman was found guilty of criminal negligence in his son's death in May.

In her ruling, Justice Morneau noted there were no other reported criminal law decisions in Canada where a child had died as a result of a farming incident. This was re-iterated during Tuesday's sentencing hearing. 

All three cases the crown submitted for consideration on the guilty-finding of criminal negligence causing death were automobile-related. They also involved aggravating factors such as speeding, alcohol consumption or reckless driving.

The crown argued reckless driving was present as an aggravating factor in Bauman's case; the defence said there were none present.

Justice Morneau asked the crown who she would be deterring with sentencing.

The crown argued anyone operating a skid steer -- or farm equipment -- are people who need to be deterred and shown the courts will consider it harshly if they engage in reckless behaviour.

The defence argued if Bauman's sentence serves to deter like-minded farmers, the conviction alone has had that effect.

"And Mr. Bauman does not need individual deterrence," defence counsel told the court. "He is already serving a life sentence of grief, and a life sentence of sadness."

Justice Morneau called the case a delicate issue and acknowledged Bauman is a victim as well.

She adjourned proceedings until August to take more time for consideration before deciding on a sentence.

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