The maternal aunt of a boy who was tortured and starved by his father delivered an emotional and detailed victim impact statement today. A sentencing hearing for the 45-year-old ex-RCMP counter-intelligence officer began today in an Ottawa courtroom.

She addressed the professionals in the little boy’s life, like the police and psychologist who missed what she called “red flags.”

Then addressed the father for making this beautiful intelligent boy feel he is nothing.

It was the CTV Ottawa story on the evening broadcast of February 14th, 2013 that prompted a feeling of dread, the aunt told court today.  An 11-year-old boy, starved and beaten, had been found wandering in a west end neighborhood.  His father, an RCMP officer, had been arrested.

“It still feels surreal,” she told court, “A nightmare that could not possibly be true.”

Her family hadn't seen the boy in 3 years, she explained, not since his mother died and, by court order, he went to live with his father.

“You took him with nothing but the clothes on his back, two days before his mother's death,” she said, adding the boy, then 7, wasn't even able to attend the funeral.

The aunt told court his mother's family loved this little boy.  He and his gravely ill mother had lived with his grandparents in 2009 and that after he left, “his grandparents kept the basement apartment untouched, frozen in time; his room, his toys, everything.  His grandmother died shortly after she was denied accees,” the woman told court, “heartbroken and convinced that his baby was not safe.”

Never guessing just how bad it was.  The boy had been burned and battered, sexually assaulted, tied up in the unfinished basement. When he finally escaped that February day in 2013, he weighed 50 pounds.

The aunt then turned her attention to the professionals in this little boy's life.  She said she can't explain to him why the family court judge gave his father the right to completely and “totally isolate him after his mother died, not allowing so much as a monthly visit or telephone call to his family.”  She said they couldn’t explain how a psychologist, who had been to the home and admonished his father “about his extreme behavior towards his son did not act, even with the knowledge that the child had been forced to take cold showers and sleep in the basement.” And why, she said, two police officers returned this little boy to his father the first time he escaped

Court also heard today from two psychiatrists, including Dr. Helen Ward, who confirmed the father suffered from PTSD, depression and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, a result of abuse he says he suffered as a boy in Lebanon, abuse he would later inflict on his son, who he had referred to as the devil.

“An angel, not Satan, escaped from your hell,” the aunt said in her victim impact statement, “and the final sad irony is that you ended up being the criminal you accused him of being."

The aunt finished saying they hope the boy, who isnow 14,will see his physical scars as a testament to his strength and they pray that one day he will know he is loved and has value. 

The sentencing hearing continues tomorrow