Death of Rochelle Bobb's baby should merit criminal charge

TORONTO - He will go down in history as Toronto’s youngest victim of violence that ultimately killed him.


But will he go down as Toronto’s youngest ever murder victim?

Will he be considered a victim of a crime at all?

The early reports are this dead baby, delivered four-months premature, does not even have a name. One has not yet been announced publicly.

“He does have a name,” insists a source close to the family. “They so far have chosen to not reveal it, but this could soon change.”

The family is waiting for the results of an autopsy on Monday. Funeral plans will then be talked about.

“The family is grieving,” the person close to them said. “For both he and his mother.”

The question is what to do next in terms of justice for the boy and his slain mother, Rochelle Candice Bobb.

Bobb, Toronto’s 29th homicide of 2016, was sitting in the backseat when an unknown gunman sprayed the car with bullets May 16 in the Jamestown area.

The 35-year-old had two older sons and her infant baby, born premature because of this crime, was their brother.

This whole sordid disgrace at the hands of gutless gang-style warfare will go down as perhaps Toronto’s greatest-ever shame.

A baby was born out of gunfire and is dead because of this city’s out-of-control gun play. His mom, it has been reported, was dead before he took his first breath. Her killer, and his, is still unknown and on the loose.

But when the killer is caught, there is no question in my mind he or she should be charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

The Crown attorney’s office and Toronto Police are working on that question right now. Police are looking at the Criminal Code and asking the Crown about the possibility of conviction should they lay a murder charge.

Previous cases show, as a rule, that if a woman is killed while pregnant and the baby dies as well, there is no extra charge.

But that is not what happened here.

This boy was delivered by C-section and lived with the help of life support for three weeks. He was a person, he lived in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

“He was a human being who was born into this world,” said Dr. Charles McVety, of the Institute for Canadian Values. “The only time you hear a baby referred to as a fetus is when they are about to kill it. One thing we do know is this little baby was alive and did die out of complications from a serious crime committed on he and his mother.”

Jack Fonseca, of Campaign Life Coalition, said they “pray that justice will prevail so that homicide charges for the infant’s death will indeed be laid.”

“It would be the height of cruelty towards the surviving family, and towards Candice’s memory, to refuse to acknowledge the intrinsic worth and dignity that this baby boy had to Candice and her extended family,” Fonseca said in an email.

With no motive, it’s difficult for police to determine appropriate charges. The questions that have not yet been answered include was Bobb targeted? If so, why? Did the killer even know there was a pregnant woman in the car?

If the answer is yes to any of those questions, the debate over whether the boy’s death should result in criminal prosecution will take a different turn immediately. And even if the boy was not an intended target, as a living person who suffered the complications of a crime, he would be entitled to justice.

“Nothing has been ruled out,” said a police source.

Meanwhile, homicide unit commander Staff-Insp. Greg McLane said decisions will be made in a measured and appropriate way.

“The death of the infant is tragic and it is clear from the reports that the public would obviously like to see the death classified as a homicide,” he said. “The death of the infant and the circumstances of its premature birth will be defined by the Criminal Code and established case law. Investigators want to ensure an appropriate classification under these circumstances.”

Interesting times ahead.

“But it’s not lost on anyone in this process that this youngster did live and die as the result of a murder,” said police source. “This may end up being a test case, but any way you look at it, this boy was a victim of crime.”

He certainly does not fit into the non-person status.

Perhaps when Toronto is told his name, there will be no disagreement about that at all.

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