He repeated it many times, both during his trial at first instance and before the Brussels Court of Appeal: Lin (not his real name) did not want to harm his little boy, Tom (not his real name). Her intentions were laudable, she stated. Unsuccessfully.
The criminal sentence is confirmed: this mother of about 40 years old is sentenced to two years in prison, with a suspended sentence of three years. She was guilty of depriving her son of food and care, whose custody was also taken from her. The young man now lives in the United States, with his father, Etienne (not his real name).
Breast milk and small soups.
It all started in 2018. Etienne, a mathematics professor at a large American university, wants to visit his parents in Belgium. He makes the trip with his small family. In Brussels, Etienne’s father is worried: his grandson does not seem to be in good shape. He found him abnormally thin and insisted that the boy be taken to the emergency room as soon as possible. Lin, the mother, refuses. She explains.
If he looks pale, the little one is not in bad health, he assures. This could be explained by the fact that Tom feeds exclusively on breast milk. Apart from breastfeeding, he receives nothing more than small Omega 3 soups that the child sucks with small pipettes. A strict diet, but healthy and prepared for the benefit of the little one, justifies the mother. But Grandpa insists: Tom is not feeling well. Without further ado, they headed to the university clinics in Saint-Luc.
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There, the doctors are clear: Tom’s vital prognosis is in danger. He is in a state of severe malnutrition, his weight is less than that of a six-month-old child. He will be treated urgently, but it will take a year of hospitalization to get him out of trouble. This includes jaw rehabilitation (which he does not know how to use since he has never chewed solid food), as well as psychological monitoring to reduce the consequences on his mental health.
During this long process of healing the Lin child, the mother is interviewed first by the police and then by psychiatric experts. The latter are clear: the mother does not suffer from mental disorders, her capacity for discernment is complete and she does not represent a global social danger. But – even if she defends acting with kindness – it is a danger to her son. She will therefore be prosecuted and then convicted.
Did you want dad?
For the sake of justice, Lin is guilty of not voluntarily feeding and caring for her son. For this she relied on her own research, without ever consulting a doctor, neither for medical advice, nor for the slightest consultation. We also learn that Tom has not received any vaccinations since he was born. Here too, it is a decision made by the mother, she says, in the best interests of the child.
A series of elements that could have had serious consequences for Tom and that did not allow Lin to escape conviction. Although the sentence was not increased on appeal, the court was quite severe in detailing the sentence, underlining the seriousness of the situation, especially on the part of a mother who must, above all, protect her child. If Lin escaped a harsher sentence, it is due to the age of the facts, and a form of introspection on his part, certainly “limited”, but which gives the impression that, perhaps, he understood that it was no longer necessary to repeat the phrase. stuff.
In her argument, maître Catherine Toussaint, Lin’s defense, highlighted an element that, however, was not taken into account by the courts: the fact that the child’s father is considered a civil party, while he should be considered equally responsible. of Tom’s fate and his degradation. But the court ruled that she was the child’s mother, alone, who decided not to feed her son based on her own reflections, also made alone.
Leaving the courtroom, Lin (who does not speak French) seemed completely bewildered. Alone in Belgium, he was there while the judicial process was ending. That’s right, but she considers herself aggrieved by this sentence. “It’s not abuse, it’s out of love that I did all this,” she repeated. She is considering going to the Court of Cassation and even taking the case to European justice.