Possible miscarriage of justice in woman's conviction in toddler drowning: prosecutor

Maybe miscarriage of justice

A special prosecutor says there may have been a miscarriage of justice when a babysitter was convicted of criminal negligence causing death in the drowning of a toddler in Cranbrook, B.C.

Tammy Bouvette was originally charged with second-degree murder but pleaded guilty in 2013 to the lesser charge in the death of 19-month-old Iyanna Teeple, who was found unconscious and not breathing in a bathtub while under her care.

The BC Prosecution Service announced last year that it was appointing lawyer Marilyn Sandford as a special prosecutor to review the case, following media inquiries about disclosure issues linked to a pathologist involved in the matter.

The service says in a statement Thursday that Sandford has completed her review and provided a written report, in which she says there is a strong case to be made that Bouvette did not receive disclosure of significant and relevant materials.

The statement says Sandford concluded that as a result of that non-disclosure, Bouvette's charter rights may have been breached and her conviction may represent a miscarriage of justice.

It says Sandford found a review by the B.C. Court of Appeal is desirable in order to determine whether a miscarriage of justice occurred, and she directed the prosecution service to provide Bouvette with copies of all materials collected in her investigation.

The prosecution service says the Crown will not oppose Bouvette if she applies to the Appeal Court for a time extension to file an appeal of her conviction, nor if she applies to file fresh evidence based on any materials not previously disclosed to her.

It says Sandford will continue as special prosecutor on the matter and has already taken steps to begin implementing her conclusions and recommendations.

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