“ She didn't do anything' to protect slain girl, party's justice critic charges
By JONATHAN JENKINS AND DON PEAT, SUN MEDIA
The judge who approved Katelynn Sampson's transfer from her drug-addicted mom to the "best friend" now charged with her death
should be investigated for neglect of duty, New Democrat justice critic Peter Kormos said yesterday.
"The transcript is very shocking in how little interest the judge showed in the background of any of the adults," Kormos said.
"She showed no interest whatsoever and relied solely on the wishes of the natural mother."
Katelynn, 7, was found dead Sunday, after her caregiver Donna Irving called 911 to her West Lodge Ave. apartment and said
the little girl had choked on food.
When paramedics arrived, they found Katelynn dead with obvious trauma and Irving was arrested.
Her boyfriend Warren Johnson has since also been arrested and both are charged with second-degree murder.
Kormos said it's particularly disturbing to see in transcripts of three court appearances before Justice Debra Paulseth, that
Irving was never asked if she or her partner had criminal records -- which both did.
"She didn't do anything during the course of her judicial duties to in fact protect the best interests of the child, or even
make any inquiries that reflected her interest in the best interests of the child," Kormos said.
"We're dealing with adults here that live very troubled lives. That's why we have a judge supervising these sorts of transfers
The transcripts of hearings on Feb. 19, May 14 and June 6 of this year show Bernice Sampson was more than willing to turn
Katelynn over to Irving -- although she balked at giving the woman she called her "best friend" any details on the chid's
biological father in Nova Scotia, which the court needed before a final order could be made.
Sampson ultimately skipped the last two court dates and Paulseth agreed to grant Irving final custody without tracking down
For her part, Irving wasn't entirely helpful to the judge either -- she only mentioned her two youngest children to Paulseth,
neglecting to mention she has two older children.
She also told the judge Katelynn had been staying with her since the fall of 2007, when a custody application she filed claimed
the girl had been in her care since 2003. And in the June hearing, she told her court worker Katelynn was struggling in school
and she was having trouble getting her help because she wasn't the custodial parent.
Katelynn's classmates at Parkdale Public say she stopped coming to school months before the end of the school year.
A spokesman for Attorney General Chris Bentley said Kormos can take his complaint directly to the Ontario Judicial Council
if he so wishes.
The coroner's office has said it will likely hold an inquest into Katelynn's death -- which would have to wait until the criminal
trials are over.
But Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory said the lack of any other government inquiry into the tragedy is "an abdication
"It's clear that everybody dropped the ball and I think it's a travesty," Tory said.
Native Child and Family Services of Toronto stressed yesterday they had no involvement in placing Katelynn Sampson in the
home of her accused killers.