'Why would I hurt my own son?': Regina manslaughter trial hears father's interview with police
It was a tearful start to the third day of Catlin Goodwill’s manslaughter trial.
The accused, along with some family members in the gallery, sat crying as court watched a video recording of Goodwill’s interview with police the day after he had been arrested and charged with manslaughter.
Goodwill, 33, is accused of causing the death of his three-month-old son in October 2017.
Nearly two years later, the father was arrested and charged in August 2019.
Regina Police Service SSgt. Pierre Beauchesne, who was one of the primary investigators in the case, testified at the trial on Wednesday. He led court through a recorded interview he conducted with Goodwill the day after his arrest.
The baby’s mother had left him home alone with Goodwill the day he died. Goodwill admitted to police that he was the only one who held the boy that day, even after the mother returned home.
“He was in my care and I was watching him,” Goodwill told police during the interview.
Autopsy results show the infant died from blunt force trauma to the head. An expert witness previously testified that the injury would have taken place a few hours before the death.
“There would be no other person in contact or who would have been able to be in contact with (the infant) to cause that death and it was not natural,” Beauchesne told Goodwill in the interview.
“A stranger didn’t just come into the house and do this.”
Beauchesne told court police operated on a couple of different theories during the investigation.
One theory was Goodwill hit the baby’s head on a swinging seat when the father placed his son back down after changing his diaper. Shaken Baby Syndrome was another theory.
One of the neuropathologists who consulted on the autopsy previously testified the infant’s injuries were consistent with Shaken Baby Syndrome. However, he said that could not be confirmed.
Beauchesne interviewed Goodwill for about 40 minutes. In that time, the father could not give an explanation for his son’s injuries.
“I didn’t do nothing to hurt him,” he said. “Why would I hurt my own kid? Why would I hurt my own son?”
During cross-examination, defence lawyer Bruce Campbell questioned why it took police nearly two years to lay charges against Goodwill.
Beauchesne told Campbell “death investigations sometimes take several months if not years.”
The investigator said he did not receive the final autopsy report until December 2018. He told court it then takes time to review the documents and information before making the decision to lay a charge.
The Crown called its final witness in the case Wednesday afternoon.
Dr. Juliet Soper is a paediatrician who works in the area of child maltreatment. Police asked for her expert opinion during their investigation.
During testimony, Soper agreed that the baby’s head trauma was likely caused by an acceleration and deceleration motion similar to shaking or whiplash received in a car crash.
She added that the brain bleed could have occurred without impact. However, the bruise found on the back of the infant’s skull suggests there was some sort of impact to the boy’s head.
“Any bruising of a baby this age raises a question of how it happened,” Soper told court, adding the infant could not have caused these injuries on its own.
According to Soper, children with fatal head injuries often show symptoms immediately, including loss of consciousness.
“Any injury that results in the child dying is extremely significant. It’s the worst outcome,” Soper said.
“If you’ve suffered a fatal brain injury it would be obvious to the people looking after you.”
Soper told court she could not conclusively determine a timeline or cause of injury based on the information she had reviewed.
The defence is expected to call a neuropathologist as its only expert witness Thursday afternoon.
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