Court Acquits Father Who Admitted Killing Son

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express

LONDON, ONTARIO--An Ontario judge has ruled that David Carmichael was not responsible for the death of his 11-year-old son, Ian, even though he admitted drugging him, then strangling him.

Ontario Superior Court Justice Helen Rady acquitted Carmichael, 47, of first-degree murder after hearing from experts that he was severely depressed at the time he decided to take his son's life.

Carmichael had confessed to killing Ian, who was described as "energetic" and "loving", because he believed that the boy's epileptic seizures would cause him to develop more severe disabilities and become violent. Carmichael told police he was saving his son from a "living hell" and his family from potential assaults by the child.

Carmichael killed his son on July 31, 2004 -- several months after Ian began taking medication that effectively controlled his seizures. An autopsy revealed that Ian had mild epilepsy, but no other disabilities or medical conditions at the time of his death.

Family members and friends called Carmichael a "devoted" father, who "doted" on his son.

Rady determined that Carmichael is not a threat to the community, but that he should be sent to a medium-security psychiatric hospital for treatment.

The case has been compared to those of other parents who killed a child because the child had a disability. In Canada, arguably the most well-known case of "altruistic filicide" is that of Robert Latimer, who in 1993 gassed to death his 12-year-old daughter, Tracy. Latimer is serving a mandatory 10 years of a life sentence after being convicted of 2nd degree murder in the crime.

"The tragedy in both cases is the terrible loss of a young life for no other reason than that a father believed he had the right to pass ultimate judgment on his child's quality of life," said Keith Powell, executive director of Community Living Ontario, in a statement Friday.

"We have to work harder to change this extremely dangerous and destructive perception that the quality of life of a person who has a disability is something that can be determined by others. Until this perception changes, the lives of people who have a disability will continue to be devalued and imperiled."

"Toronto father not criminally responsible in death of son" (CBC)

October 05, 2005 - InclusionDailyNews Department | Email this story


Comments (newest comments at bottom)

So what the legal system is saying is that it's O.K. to murder a child so long as they have a disability??! Outrageous.

Posted by: Gimpy Mumpy on October 9, 2005 09:19 AM

QL = NE x (H+S)

this is the "quality of life" formula. QL is the quality of life a child will have according to his/her Natural Endowment -physical and intellectual- times the sum of H, the contribution the child can expect from his home and family plus S, the probable constribution to the child with an impairment from society.

It's a heinous formula that extends from the tragic medical model that dictates our society's prejudices and hateful crimes. Clearly, David Carmichael used it to his advantage because he realized that H+S wouldnt do enough for his son, and so he fulfilled his promise to society and got rid of the burden of his son with epilepsy.

Outrageous indeed.

Posted by: suko on October 11, 2005 04:43 PM

Do not judge until you have heard all the facts in this case, as I was present from day one of the trial. I too felt as many of you do and couldn't understand how a so called loving father could do this to a child with or without a disability. Our society is so quick to judge without having any knowledge of this serious depression being a very serious disesase that none of us know could take us over at any time if we don't take care of ourseleves. God bless little Ian and may he rest in peace.

Posted by: wasattrial on October 14, 2005 05:36 PM

Post a comment

(your email address will not appear publicly)

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)

Recommend this story to a friend

To (email address):

Your email address:

Message (optional):