Canada
Mom, not boyfriend, to blame for infant's death, court told

Adriel Da Silva Garcia

Credits: Handout/QMI Agency

SAM PAZZANO | QMI AGENCY

TORONTO -- Jessica Da Silva should be blamed for the injuries that ultimately killed her infant son, the defence insisted during closing arguments Monday at her ex-boyfriend's murder trial.

Ronny Munoz-Hernandez, 25, is accused of second-degree murder in the Nov. 9, 2010, death of Adriel Garcia. He has pleaded not guilty to causing the fatal head injuries on Da Silva's son while babysitting the child on Sept. 11, 2010.

In her closing address, defence lawyer Paula Rochman pinpointed the blame on Da Silva, whom she accused of lying to implicate her boyfriend to "save herself" from prosecution.

Da Silva abandoned her five-month-old baby, leaving him with Munoz-Hernandez -- who had next to no experience babysitting -- for 18 1/2 hours to attend a cousin's wedding, Rochman insisted.

"She cannot explain why she didn't take her son, Adriel Garcia, with her to this all-day family event because there is zero innocent and rational explanation for that," she added.

Da Silva never brought her baby to her relatives because she was hiding the hideous bruises on his body, which would have compelled them to phone the Children's Aid Society and apprehend her child, Rochman argued.

"There is no medical evidence that excludes Jessica (as having caused these injuries)," said Rochman, who asked the jury to acquit her client.

The child underwent emergency brain surgery but died nine weeks later in his mother's arms.

Crown attorney Laura Bird argued that Da Silva was "a credible and reliable witness" who told "white lies" to cover up her tragic choice in a babysitter.

She was still trying to get another babysitter, a girlfriend, on the morning of the wedding, so she wasn't trying to hide her abused baby, insisted Bird.

Da Silva left Adriel with her boyfriend after she couldn't find another caregiver.

"It was, quite clearly, the worst decision of her life," Bird said.

She said the shocked mother lied to police at the behest of her boyfriend as "her son was fighting for his life."

Hours later, she "sought them out so that she could correct her terrible mistake," Bird said.

The accused man tried to make Adriel "more comfortable" en route to hospital afterwards because he regretted inflicting "atrocious and life-ending" injuries earlier.

Justice Nola Garton will deliver her instructions to the jury Thursday.

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