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Should poor judgment result in criminal charges?

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We don’t always make the best decisions. It is just part of human nature to make mistakes or to not do what makes the most sense. Most of the time those mistakes have very few long-term or serious consequences, but sometimes they do. Even when they do, though, should a simple mistake or spate of bad judgment lead to criminal charges? Unfortunately, sometimes they do.

A Whitby man has been charged with failing to provide the necessaries of life, assault causing bodily harm and criminal negligence causing bodily harm. The man is married to a 62-year-old woman who was recently admitted to the hospital because she was in poor shape following a stroke. Police are saying that the man neglected his wife and are charging him with very serious crimes.

It is not entirely clear what police are alleging the man did. The woman had lost a substantial amount of her body weight since she was last in the hospital in February. She was no longer able to talk or walk. Police are saying that the man’s negligent care of his wife is to blame.

Let’s say that the man did not check to make sure his wife ate or failed to bring her in to see the doctors more often. Even if that is true, that just goes to show the man’s poor judgment, but not his criminal negligence. Should he have brought his wife in when he noticed she was losing her body mass? Probably, yes, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he should be criminal charged for it.

Source: The Toronto Star, “Husband charged with criminal negligence after wife’s stroke,” Katelyn Verstraten, June 25, 2014

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