Statue of Lady Justice at B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster. (Black Press Media files)

Statue of Lady Justice at B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster. (Black Press Media files)

No Crown appeal of not guilty verdict in Langley child death

KerryAnn Lewis was charged in the death of her seven-year-old daughter Aaliyah Rosa

There will be no appeal of the verdict after Langley resident KerryAnn Lewis was found not guilty last month of the death of her seven-year-old daughter Aaliyah Rosa.

Justice Martha Devlin found Lewis not guilty on Sept. 3 in New Westminster Supreme Court.

“Only Ms. Lewis knows what happened to Aaliyah on the day in question,” Devlin said, calling the child’s death “a tragic incident.”

After the hearing concluded, someone in the courtroom yelled angrily that the verdict was “bulls**t.”

There is a possibility of appealing a guilty verdict by Crown prosecutors, but such appeals are rare.

“According to the BCPS [BC Prosecution Service] policy on appeals, not every unfavourable result can or should be appealed and the appeal process is onerous for both the Crown and the accused,” said Dan McLaughlin, the spokesperson for the BCPS.

McLaughlin said an appeal is limited by the Canadian Criminal Code. There are two possible reasons for an appeal, including whether the verdict raises a question of the law itself, and whether the judge made a legal error that would have altered the verdict.

“As the test was not met in this case there will be no appeal,” McLaughlin said.

McLaughlin said the family has been informed of the decision.

READ MORE: Langley mother found not guilty in murder trial over daughter’s death

During the trial, the Crown laid out a case for alleged first degree murder, accusing Lewis of planning her daughter’s death from the morning of July 22, 2018.

Devlin’s ruling found that Lewis had given Aaliyah a mixture of over the counter and prescription medications that was later found in her system, but she did not find that Lewis had forcibly submerged Aaliyah in the apartment’s bathtub.

The judge said it was plausible that a combination of the drugs and a head injury could have caused the child to fall into a tub drawn for a bath, resulting in the signs of possible drowning seen in the autopsy.

Two expert witnesses, both neuropathologists, found that Aaliyah likely had undiagnosed hydrocephalus, a condition that can cause swelling of the brain. The condition could have contributed to Aaliyah’s death, as a relatively minor blow to the head could have potentially been lethal.

Lewis had been in custody for most of the three years between the time she was charged and the conclusion of the trial.

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