Unfortunate incident with a terrible consequence

A very sad accident that has a very outrageous consequence.

To avoid my interpretation please read at http://www.thestar.com/news/crime/article/1214586--bail-granted-to-homeowner-charged-in-toddler-s-backyard-pond-drowning-death?bn=1

Okay, I simply don’t understand this.

However, I only have questions… 1st of all, what’s with is the negligence of the parents? Or, what about a situation where one might have a house on the lake, no fence of course, and someone stumbles from your property and falls into lake and drowns, you will be charged?

Don’t know about a house on a lake, but a backyard pond might be considered an attractive nuisance and need a fence or something. IANAL.

I don’t agree with life in prison, but there should be some penalty. A backyard pond is the same as a backyard swimming pool. Unless the property is in the middle of nowhere, with no close neighbors, the homeowner is responsible for making it safe.

The lake analogy doesn’t apply. Nobody fences their lakefront, so when you’re at a lake with a small child, you pay close attention. If the child is in your own backyard, you might let down your guard.

Yeah, the parents should have been more aware, but it’s hard to say without seeing the property. Was the broken gate obvious? Was the opening obscured by trees and bushes, construction materials? How far did the toddler have to go to fall in the pond? Did the parents even know there was an unfenced pond next door?

I draw the line at having to fence a pond. And life in prison?!

It would matter whether the pond was a natural or man-made feature. I would expect that natural pond, like a lake, wouldn’t need to be fenced in.

A pond made using those plastic liners would be a different case. I suspect it’s this second kind, but they didn’t say that I could tell.

A Toronto Sun story:

I believe this is the pond.

The life in prison sentence is given as the maximum possible. I would well imagine that even if found guilty, he would be given that sentence. The fact that the bail is relatively low probably reflects this.

From the linked article.

We don’t have the whole story here, but it looks like the gate being gone was a temporary thing. The parents of the children may not have been aware that it was removed (note I’m not claiming any certainty either) which could account for lessened supervision. It sounds like the access was from the backyard, and having your toddler run around in your backyard wouldn’t seem that bad.

I can’t make sense of that.

I think he meant the guy would “not” be given that sentence.

I see nothing more than a tragic accident.

Why aren’t the parents being held for anything? I don’t understand these laws. It seems like a terrible accident, but who lets a toddler - not a five or six year old, a 2 YO - wander around all by himself without any supervision at all? Really? Parents do this?

Yeah, if the guy who didn’t fence his pond was guilty, the parents who let the kid wander off are equally or more guilty. I don’t see how you can blame one and not the other - if pond was fenced, no accident. If kid was not allowed to wander off, no accident. Same liability on both ends IMO.

Good point Athena.

And dayum, are we going to have to toddler proof the world at some point? I don’t see many fences along highways or neighborhood/suburban streets.

It’s not uncommon for municipalities to have laws requiring that backyards with potential dangers (like swimming pools, ponds, African lions, etc) be fenced. It’s not putting a fence around the pond (although i guess that would probably be technically OK), it’s usually putting a fence around the backyard, to prevent toddlers, neighborhood children, stray cats etc from harm.

It’s not just toddlers – lots of little kids, running around a neighborhood, seeing an open body of water, will go splashing or playing. While toddler parents surely have some responsibility for watching their kids, the same is NOT true of parents of 7 and 8 year olds (say.)

The child died in hospital not in the pond, implying he was found quickly. A child that age can drown in shallow water in the time it takes for parents to notice he is missing, search and find him. There’s a long tradition of laws to keep wells covered and pools fenced for that reason. It’s negligence on behalf of the pond’s owner.

If a kid drowns in water shallow enough to stand up in I say let Darwin win. Besides a toddler of course. But a toddler shouldn’t be out of the sight of the parents and if they are and bad things happen its the parents fault.

It is a tragedy for all three elements: child, parents, property owner. The law holds the property owner responsible for certain safety standards in that jurisdiction and apparently he failed to maintain his property to that standard. The child’s parents may have had a momentary lapse of attention, perhaps due to a distraction, which can happen to anyone with small children. Unless the authorities can prove the parents were grossly negligent in their supervision, it looks like the greatest onus is going to fall upon the property owner for any losses, injuries or deaths attributable to his non-observance of the laws.