Father to face manslaughter rap for alleged lethal slaps
LONGUEUIL, Quebec - A judge ruled Wednesday morning at the Longueuil courthouse that there is enough evidence to try Moussa Sidime, 72, for manslaughter following an incident that led to the death of his daughter.
Sidime had initially been charged with aggravated assault causing death, but the charge was changed to manslaughter based on pathologist Dr. Andre Bourgeault's report, handed in at the preliminary hearing.
Sidime was arrested for allegedly striking his 13-year-old daughter in the face twice on Oct. 6, 2010, leading to her death.
After the incident Moussa Sideme told Longueuil police that he slapped his daughter on both sides of her face with an open hand when she mumbled a response after he admonished her for not mopping the kitchen floor properly.
"We're not talking a punch or anything, two open hand slaps in the face one on this cheek, one on the other cheek because she wouldn't do the chore of the kitchen correctly at all," said defence lawyer Marie-Josee Duhaime.
Noutene Sidime, a student at Jacques Rousseau High School, died of a cerebral hemorrhage, said Bourgeault, who was initially unable to establish the cause of death, but now believes the slaps were a factor.
He explained Wednesday that the teenager's cerebral hemorrhage was most probably caused by a rupture of a vertebral artery, likely due to the sharp movement of the girl's head either from the slaps, her reflex, or both.
"Most probably this is what happened, but it still hasn't been proven 100 per cent, so it's my turn now to have a counter expertise," said Duhaime.
Duhaime pointed to the fact that Bourgeault was unable to find the rupture during his examination and drew his conclusions based on the literature, and a process of elimination.
The pathology report, however, combined with the defendant's description of events was enough to call a trial.
"The judge said that we have enough proof because the defence admits we have enough proof," said Crown prosecutor Julie Beauchesne.
The accused will now stand trial in a case to be judged by a Quebec court judge rather than jury.
Moussa Sidime spent three weeks behind bars following the incident and was released on bail after a hearing at which two dozen family members showed up to support him. His wife told the judge that he had never hit his children before.
They were also in court Wednesday supporting the elderly man.
The defence said Sidime is distraught over his daughter's death.
"The father is devastated. He's 72… years old. That was his baby, evidently, and he says there's nothing worse, that's it for him. It's a life sentence for him whatever happens," said Duhaime.
Proceedings begin in November.