Guilty plea in baby abduction


Sudbury police had released this surveillance photo of a suspect in a case of child abduction Nov. 1.

Lawyer describes Brenda Batisse, 29, as ‘a troubled woman who has had a very difficult past’

Nov 24, 2007 02:44 PM

Staff Reporter
A northern Ontario woman charged with the abduction of a baby from a Sudbury hospital this month has been released after pleading guilty yesterday in Superior Court.

Justice Robbie Gordon found Brenda Batisse guilty and released her on bail pending sentencing.

Defence lawyer Berk Keaney said today that his client had been denied bail on Nov. 12 and yesterday’s hearing began as a review of that decision. As a result of discussions during the hearing, however, Batisse entered a guilty plea.

A date for sentencing will be set on Friday, Dec. 7, and the sentencing is expected to take place in February.

Batisse, 29, lives on the Matatchewan First Nations reserve, 75 kilometres north of Kirkland Lake. Keaney said she has no criminal record.

Keaney said his client is described as a loving, caring parent. She is the mother of two daughters, ages eight and five.

“The description of her in the community is that she is a considerate, beautiful person,” he said.

Evidence presented yesterday indicated that she was the victim of sexual abuse from age six until she was 17, as well as a further abusive relationship over several years. Batisse also suffers from major depression requiring further diagnosis and treatment, Keaney said.

She is currently living with relatives and her daughters, and the Matatchewan community of about 50 residents has come forward to offer supervision and support as she undergoes psychotherapy.

Keaney said, “this lady was demonized in the public eye as a result of a bizarre and disturbing incident, but now as a result of the information which was made public yesterday, they will hopefully see that this is a troubled woman who has had a very difficult past and who needs help more than she needs incarceration.”

He said he plans to ask the judge to support a sentence designed to foster rehabilitation and recovery.

The day-old baby disappeared on Nov. 1 from St. Joseph’s Health Centre in Sudbury. Wearing hospital scrubs, Batisse entered the mother’s room and said she needed to take the baby to be weighed. The mother insisted on going with her, but stopped to use the washroom first. Batisse then disappeared with the newborn wrapped in a blanket. The kidnapping triggered a province-wide Amber Alert.

Several hours later, the baby was found unharmed in Kirkland Lake, a town five hours north of Sudbury.

With files from The Canadian Press