Margaret Grant pleaded guilty to failing without lawful excuse to provide the necessaries of life to her mother last year

Originally published in the Times Transcript. To go to the Times Transcript website please click here

A Moncton woman who was given a four-year sentence last April for letting her mother rot in a chair is already out of prison.

Margaret Grant was released on day parole in December after serving eight months of her sentence. She will live at a halfway house until August, when her full parole will begin.

Grant will remain under parole conditions until her sentence ends in April 2013.

Grant pleaded guilty to failing without lawful excuse to provide the necessaries of life to her mother, while her mother was under her charge and unable, by reason of illness, to care for herself.

The charge says the accused caused the victim to be permanently injured to the point of endangering her life, by “leaving her unattended for several months bedridden in a chair.”

She was originally charged with criminal negligence causing death and homicide by criminal negligence, but those charges were withdrawn and replaced with the other charge.

Grant and her mother, 78-year-old Kathleen Grant, moved to Moncton from Ontario almost 30 years ago and the two women lived together for most of their lives, including the last three years of the elderly woman’s life in an apartment at 50 Fleet St. in downtown Moncton.

On Jan. 10, 2007, Grant called 911 because her mother was having difficulty breathing and paramedics found the elderly woman living in filthy conditions in the chair, with flesh rotting off her legs and open sores exposing bone.

Kathleen Grant was taken to hospital and doctors said it was the worst case of senior neglect they had ever seen.

Nothing could be done for her aside from offering medication for her pain and she died four days later.

Last April, Moncton provincial court Judge Brigitte Sivret sentenced Grant to four years in prison, just short of the maximum sentence of five years. Sivret said with other seniors possibly in the same situation in this community, the court had to be clear that this is unacceptable.

The Crown had asked for two and a half years to three years while defence lawyer Tracy Bock asked for a conditional sentence. Bock appealed the sentence on the grounds Grant is not a danger to society and has no criminal record. He said his client’s limited intellect should have been given greater weight at sentencing.

Bock has since moved out of the province, so the appeal file was passed to defence lawyer Martin Goguen. He says he received the file in December and soon learned his new client was already out of prison.

He found her at a halfway house and she said she was no longer interested in appealing.

“She didn’t want to follow through with the appeal,” says Goguen.

“She said she was happy and didn’t want to risk getting more time. She understands she’s under National Parole Board conditions for four years and she’s fine with that.”

According to National Parole Board spokeswoman Sylvie Blanchet, Grant did not have to apply for early parole.