Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Dad who pleaded guilty to killing 13-year-old daughter to be sentenced (Montreal, Canada)

Dad is identified as MOUSSA SIDIME.


Father whose slap killed daughter to have sentencing hearing

By Paul Cherry, GAZETTE Crime reporter
February 10, 2014

MONTREAL — A 73-year-old man who admitted to causing his 13-year-old daughter’s death by slapping her so hard it ruptured an artery in her brain is expected to have a sentencing hearing in Longueuil on Tuesday.

Moussa Sidime entered his guilty plea to manslaughter, in the 2010 death of his daughter Noutene, at the Longueuil courthouse on June 3 last year. According to testimony heard during his 2011 preliminary inquiry when he entered his guilty plea, the young girl died as a result of Sidime having slapped her twice. The slaps did not leave a mark on her face, but caused her head to make a sudden movement that ruptured a vertebral artery in her head and cut off oxygen to her brain. The teenager was placed on life support after she arrived at Montreal Children’s Hospital, but died two days later.

Sidime was supposed to have a five-day trial last year, but instead opted to plead guilty before Quebec Court Judge Richard Marleau. The girl’s death more than three years ago produced speculative media reports, quoting neighbours who were not witnesses to what happened, that suggested there was a religious element to what happened, specifically that Noutene was assaulted because she refused to take part in prayers. But, according to a summary of facts read into the court record in June, Sidime slapped his daughter twice after she spoke back to him when he yelled at her for failing to do a mundane chore properly.

On Oct. 6, 2010, Noutene arrived home from École Secondaire Jacques Rouseau, where she was a Grade 8 student, at around 3:30 p.m. Her father was the only one home at their Longueuil apartment on Chambly St. and he told her to clean the kitchen. It was a chore Noutene’s parents had earlier agreed she should take on as a responsibility. Sidime then went to his bedroom to take a nap.

When Sidime woke up a little while later, he noticed the kitchen had not been cleaned to his satisfaction and told Noutene to do it properly. The septuagenarian then returned to his bedroom to continue his nap.

“Twice afterward he checked the kitchen and was not satisfied with the work done and told his daughter to continue her chore,” prosecutor Julie Laborde told Marleau in June. “As he exited the kitchen and headed for the living room, he heard what he believed were insults intended for him. He returned to the kitchen and said ‘What, you’re insulting me now?’ He faced his daughter, told her to repeat what she said and she refused.”

Sidime reacted by slapping his daughter twice in the face and once on the buttocks. He left her in the kitchen and headed back to the living room. Minutes later, he heard a strange noise and found his daughter lying on the kitchen floor. She was having difficulty breathing and was bleeding heavily through her nose. Sidime called 911 and told the person who answered that he had struck his daughter in the face, that she was unconscious and having difficulty breathing. Ambulance technicians arrived minutes later, but Noutene never regained consciousness.

Sidime immediately admitted to the Longueuil police that he had struck his daughter and he was placed under arrest. During the same night his daughter was placed on life support, he underwent a police interrogation during which he admitted again that he had slapped his daughter. He cried throughout the recorded interrogation to the point that he had difficulty speaking.

Pathologist André Bourgeault later determined that Sidime’s slaps caused his daughter’s head to turn suddenly with such force it caused a tear in a vertebral artery in her head. The tear was caused by the impact of the slaps themselves or Noutene’s natural reaction to turn her head suddenly to protect herself.

During the preliminary inquiry in 2011, defence lawyer Marie Josée Duhaime asked if the tear could have been caused by Noutene’s head hitting the kitchen floor when she fell. Bourgeault said it was possible but not likely. He said that based on what he saw during the autopsy the girl likely fell to the floor because of the tear in her artery. He also testified he could find no evidence that Noutene suffered from a pre-existing condition that could have explained the tear.

While Duhaime and Laborde agreed to the summary of the case presented to Marleau in June, the lawyers could not agree on his possible sentence. The prosecutor said she wanted more information about Sidime, who had no previous criminal record, and Marleau agreed to order a pre-sentencing report which is expected to be presented to the court during Tuesday’s hearing.