The provincial courthouse in Harbour Grace was standing room only Wednesday as Judge James Walsh gave his verdict in a horrific child abuse case in Conception Bay North.
Members of the public were visibly uncomfortable as Walsh spoke for more than 30 minutes in the case of a C.B.N. woman charged with numerous counts of assault, forcible confinement and criminal negligence causing bodily harm.
Security was heavy and sheriff’s officers searched those who entered the courtroom.
The woman, whose identity is banned from publication by court order, had pleaded not guilty on all counts.
As Walsh read the gruesome details of the case, some people in the gallery gasped.
The judge told the court there were times the children would go to bed and not be allowed out until morning.
The mother would secure the doors with rope tied to the bannister, making it impossible for them to get out. This meant children were often forced to soil themselves during the night.
Due to the graphic and disturbing nature of many of the charges, The Compass has decided not to print many of the details.
The case has grabbed the attention of the entire province and has stoked a large amount of anger in the comments section of online news sites and social media.
Due to the large number of charges, of which there were 45, Walsh chose to handle them in pieces.
He first dealt with the charges of common assault.
“The accused is a mother who easily became upset and took her frustrations out on the children,” said the judge.
Walsh convicted her on six of the nine charges.
The woman was convicted on the assault with a weapon charge against her husband, while the nine assault with a weapon charges against her for assaults on the children were dismissed.
Walsh felt evidence did not prove beyond reasonable doubt these had occurred.
The woman was found guilty of wilfully contributing to a child being in need of protective intervention, as well as one charge of corrupting children.
Walsh convicted the woman on four of 14 charges of criminal negligence causing bodily harm.
The woman had pleaded guilty May 1 to five charges of unlawful confinement.
In total, she will be convicted on 20 charges.
The woman will remain in custody until a sentencing hearing July 23.
Defence lawyer Jeff Slade requested a pre-sentencing report, while prosecutor Lisa Stead anticipated submitting a victim impact statement in July.