OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada will not hear the appeal of a couple found guilty of killing their diabetic teenage son.
Emil and Rodica Radita of Calgary were convicted in 2017 of first-degree murder in the death of 15-year-old Alexandru. They were sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.
Witnesses at the trial testified that the boy was so neglected that he weighed 37 pounds when he died in 2013 of complications from untreated diabetes and starvation.
Court of Queen's Bench Justice Karen Horner said in handing down her verdict that the couple was in gross denial about Alexandru's disease.
"Children in Canada rarely die from diabetes, but proper treatment requires due diligence," Horner said.
She said it appeared that Alexandru had not received proper care for years, even though the Raditas were fully trained in how to look after him.
The trial heard that the Raditas refused to accept that their son had diabetes when he was diagnosed in 2000 and failed to treat his disease until he was hospitalized — near death — in British Columbia in 2003.
B.C. social workers apprehended him and placed him in foster care — where he thrived — for nearly a year before he was returned to his family.
Child welfare officials were watching the Raditas, but lost track when the family moved to Alberta in 2008. Court heard the boy was home-schooled and had little contact with the outside world. There were no records of his going to a doctor in the province.
One of Alex's seven siblings told court that the family did not believe in doctors.
Alberta’s chief medical examiner testified that an autopsy showed the teen was severely underweight and covered in ulcers. Dr. Jeffery Gofton said the boy appeared skeletal with thin hair and sunken eyes, was wearing a diaper and had little body fat. Gofton told court that most of the teen’s teeth had rotted down to the root.
The Raditas filed separate appeals a month after their convictions, but the Alberta Court of Appeal rejected them last February. It said there was ample and uncontested medical evidence about the boy's cause of death.
The judges cited a video shown in court of Alex on his 15th birthday.
"It shows a bedridden, extremely emaciated and weak boy who struggles to open his cards and gifts. Sores are visible on his nose and forehead. It was a chronic, ongoing process that led to a premature and preventable death."
As is usual, the Supreme Court on Thursday did not give a reason for its decision.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 13, 2020